Hutchison could compete against BT for EE or O2

Hutchison Whampoa is reportedly preparing a bid for EE or O2, as the two UK mobile operators also hold preliminary talks with BT on a deal.

According to Reuters, the Hong Kong-based company could put forward a bid for either of the companies by the end of the year, and is being consulted on a potential deal by an advisory boutique.

Earlier this week, BT confirmed it was in preliminary talks with Telefónica to buy back O2, as well as with Orange and Deutsche Telekom regarding the sale of EE.

Market watchers were quick to identify EE as a stronger fit for Hutchison, which already has a network-sharing agreement in place with the company through its UK arm Three.

BT’s past ties with O2 as well as rumours that Telefónica could receive a 20% stake in BT as part of a strategic alliance between the two operators, make a move for that company seem more feasible.

Any development is likely to have major repercussions for the UK’s mobile market, which could be reduced to three operators in the future.