BT also in early talks to buy EE
Deutsche Telekom and Orange have confirmed reports that BT Group is also in talks to acquire UK mobile operator EE.
On Monday, it emerged that BT was in “highly preliminary” talks with Telefonica to buy back O2, as well as exploring an option to buy one other mobile operator.
Joint shareholders Deutsche Telekom and Orange have since confirmed they are having “highly preliminary exploratory discussions” with BT regarding the sale of EE. They added that it was too early to state whether any transaction may occur.
A potential return to the UK mobile market would enable BT to push ahead with plans to offer "quad-play" services, with market watchers noting that owning mobile infrastructure will be key to any future success.
“BT’s proposal to re-enter the mobile market is no great surprise to the telecoms world and follows a trend of recent corporate deal activity in the telecommunications space,” said Jonathan Snade, partner & technology M&A expert at leading law firm Thomas Eggar.
“The drivers for the increase in acquisition and disposal activity are numerous, but include telcos scaling up to remain competitive and struggling businesses having to refocus corporate strategy and sell divisions to realise cash or reduce debt.”