BT tells O2 ‘I Want You Back’

BT has confirmed that it is in talks with O2 and one other UK mobile network operator to acquire the services required to enable it to eventually launch its own branded network.

The telecommunications giant issued a press release confirming that it has received expressions of interest from shareholders at two UK mobile network operators that would see BT acquire the UK side of each business.

“We continue to develop our own plans for providing enhanced mobile services to business and consumer customers, in line with our previous announcements. We remain confident of delivering on these plans and have also been exploring ways of accelerating them, including assessing the merits of an acquisition of a mobile network operator in the UK,” read BT’s statement.

The talks are at a “highly preliminary stage” and there is currently neither a timeframe nor any certainty that a transaction will even take place between O2 or the other network and BT.

EE is the other network that is strongly rumoured to be up for sale and it fits with the network’s German and French owners that have been looking at launching an initial public offering to raise more capital.

“Telefonica informs that, although it is in talks with British Telecom, these talks are in a highly preliminary phase and there is no certainty that a transaction will take place,” a spokesperson from Telefonica confirmed to Trusted Reviews.

BT sold Cellnet to Telefonica for £17.7 billion back in 2005 before it eventually became O2. The deal on the table now is thought to be worth far less with its market value sitting at around £9 billion.

Citigroup told the BBC that EE currently holds some 33.8 per cent of the UK mobile sector with O2 accounting for 26.2 per cent and EE’s impressive 4G network would be a particular boon for BT.

BT’s acquisition of either of the two networks would establish a communications behemoth that includes fixed-line phones, broadband, TV channels and a mobile network.

Alarm bells were already ringing at both Vodafone and Sky at BT’s mobile plans and those two are reportedly working on a partnership that offers a quad-play of broadband, TV, mobile and landline phones.

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