BT in Talks to Acquire O2 and EE

BTFollowing widespread speculation, BT has confirmed that it is in talks with Telefónica over potentially acquiring O2, its UK mobile operator brand.

In fact, according to BTs statement, O2 isnt the only operator it is currently looking at acquiring. The telco says it has “received expressions of interest from shareholders in two UK mobile network operators”. However, according to the statement: “All discussions are at a highly preliminary stage and there can be no certainty that any transaction will occur”.

BT declined to confirm the identity of the second operator being considered.

Update: Orange has confirmed that EE, the operator it jointly owns with Deutsche Telekom, is “having highly preliminary exploratory discussions with British Telecom,  although it is too early to state whether any transaction may occur”.

O2s origins actually lie with BT, which founded Cellnet as a joint venture with Securicor in 1985. After a 2002 rebrand to O2, Telefónica acquired the operator for £18bn in 2005.

“We continue to develop our own plans for providing enhanced mobile services to business and consumer customers, in line with our previous announcements,” reads BTs statement. “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.”