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#Business

EE, BT involved in ‘highly preliminary exploratory discussions’

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EE, one of UK’s leading mobile operators in UK, on Wednesday confirmed that its joint shareholders, Deutsche Telekom AG and Orange SA are currently involved in “highly preliminary exploratory discussions with BT” a possible acquisition by the latter.

EE joint-owners Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom on Wednesday confirmed the same, but they also added that given that the discussions are just preliminary and exploratory in nature, “it is too early to state whether any transaction may occur”.

“The joint shareholders of EE regularly analyse the development of the market in which EE operates, evaluating various strategic options which have the potential to create value and strengthen the market position,” the two companies added.

Earlier on Monday, BT revealed it was in preliminary talks with O2 owner Telefónica as well as a second mobile operator about a potential buyout deal as it intends to re-enter mobile network arena, currently dominated by EE, O2 Vodafone and 3, to offer a single “quad-play” package of television, broadband, landline and mobile telephone services.

BT also 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 the talks were at an early stage.

According to analysts, EE, which accounts for almost 33.8 per cent of the British mobile market in terms of service revenue and over 27 million users, could cost BT around £10 billion while O2 with a 26.2 per cent market share and more than 23 million customers could cost the telecoms giant nearer to £9 billion.