BT is in exclusive talks to buy mobile network operator EE for £12.5bn (US$19.6 billion), the Financial Times reported.
The deal would combine Britain’s biggest fixed-line and wireless networks.
In recent weeks, the owners of EE and its rival O2 have competed to sell their businesses.
BT, formerly known as British Telecoms, confirmed on Monday its plan to buy EE and return to the mobile business. BT spun off O2 in 2001.
A combination of BT and EE would be the leader in the provision of fixed-line broadband and mobile contracts in Britain — enabling BT to pursue its strategy of shaking up the British telecoms market by offering packages of television, home broadband and mobile telecoms, the newspaper said.
EE, the largest 4G operator in Europe, was formed five years ago from the merger of Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile and the British operations of France’s Orange.
BT’s decision will frustrate Spain’s Telefónica, which had also been in talks about selling its O2 network to BT.
Telefónica will now be forced to consider other options — which could include a deal with Hutchison Whampoa’s 3 to add scale to its British business, the FT said.
– Contact us at [email protected]