Tom Alexander heads possible bid for Everything Everywhere

18 June 2012 | Kavit Majithia


Everything Everywhere, the UK’s largest mobile operator, could be bought out by a group of private equity companies headed by the company’s former chief, Tom Alexander.

In a surprising development, Alexander, who left the company last summer, has held discussions with leading private equity companies including Apax and KKR to join the bid, rumoured to be valued at just over €8 billion.

Alexander has headed both Virgin Media and Orange before his stint at Everything Everywhere and has amassed a personal wealth to help contribute to the acquisition.

The Financial Times reports Alexander has already contacted both Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom with regards to a possible takeover. It is widely perceived in the market that Deutsche Telekom would be open to a sale, given its strategy of divesting its non-core business. It had accepted a bid from AT&T to acquire its US unit T-Mobile just last year, but the deal fell through due to US regulatory restrictions.

France Telecom has been rumoured to be interested in buying out Deutsche Telekom’s stake in Everything Everywhere, but reports last week suggested differently, with the company saying it could be interested in a possible IPO for the business in the future.

Alexander had left the company last year, citing a need to take time off, but has said to have been speaking to private equity firms since February regarding a possible bid for the mobile unit. Alexander is seen as a strong brand leader in the market and was integral to the joint venture, but rumours suggest there were murmurings within the company that he became surplus to requirements during the Orange T-Mobile integration process.

Discussions are still at an early stage and analysts say raising the capital for such a deal, in such a turbulent European climate, could slow the process down significantly.