BT Group PLC agreed to buy British mobile-phone network operator EE Ltd. for 12.5 billion pounds (US$19 billion) to create the country’s biggest wireless and broadband firm, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
Orange SA and Deutsche Telekom AG, the French and German owners of EE, will receive a mixture of cash and new BT shares, London-based BT said in a statement Thursday.
The merger will generate cost savings and additional revenue valued at about 3 billion pounds after costs.
The deal, which requires antitrust approval, will probably be completed by March next year, BT said.
If it goes through, BT will control the biggest high-speed broadband network and the largest wireless operator in Britain. It will be able to package mobile, TV, home phone and internet services, the report said.
EE, with about 28 million customers, edged out Telefonica SA’s O2, the second-largest British wireless company, as BT’s preferred target when they started exclusive talks in December.
Weeks later, Madrid-based Telefonica began negotiations to sell O2 to Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (00013.HK).
Hutchison is set to merge O2 with its own British wireless company, Three, creating an operator with more than 30 million subscribers, surpassing EE.
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