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#Business

BT in preliminary buyout talks with Telefónica over O2

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BT intends to re-enter mobile network arena with a possible buyout of U.K. mobile operator O2 as it is aims to offer a single “quad-play” package of television, broadband, landline and mobile telephone services.

The company has confirmed it is in preliminary talks with O2 owner Telefónica for a deal that would see the latter selling O2 in return for a 20 percent stake in the telecoms giant.

BT revealed that it is also in acquisition talks with another mobile network operator, rumored to be EE, which is currently UK’s largest mobile network formed from the combination of Orange and T-Mobile.

“We continue to develop our own plans for providing enhanced mobile services to business and consumer customers, in line with our previous announcements,” BT said in an official statement on Monday.

“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.”

“We have received expressions of interest from shareholders in two UK mobile network operators, of which one is O2, about a possible transaction in which BT would acquire their UK mobile business,” the telecoms giant continued.

BT further noted that as all the acquisition talks are currently at a highly preliminary stage, so there is no certainty that any transaction will occur. The company said that it would make an announcement if and when appropriate.

Telefónica also confirmed the talks with BT, but insisted that they were at an early stage. EE declined to comment anything on the matter.

O2 currently has more than 23 million customers, while EE accounts for around 27 million users.