EE owners confirm ‘exploratory discussions’ with BT

27 Nov 2014

Deutsche Telekom and Orange Group, owners of the UK’s largest cellco by subscribers EE, have confirmed that they are in early stage discussions with local fixed line incumbent BT over the possibility of selling the mobile operator. According to Reuters, the talks are being carried out as part of a wider review of the options for EE’s future, with the parent companies of the joint venture cited as saying: ‘Deutsche Telekom and Orange, 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 for EE’s shareholders and strengthen the market position of EE … As one of these options, Deutsche Telekom and Orange are in exploratory discussions with BT, although it is too early to state whether any transaction may occur.’

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, earlier this week BT was said to be in negotiations with the owner of mobile operator O2 UK, Spanish group Telefonica, as well as the parents of EE over possible competing deals which could see the formation of a powerhouse telecoms provider offering fixed voice and broadband, mobile voice and broadband and pay-TV services. With the fixed line operator’s anticipated foray into the wireless sector – expected next year – thought to be acting as something of a catalyst for market consolidation, the discussions with O2 UK were officially confirmed, but it was only unnamed sources that had named EE as another party that BT had struck up a dialogue with. For its part, BT was similarly cautious about the prospect of any forthcoming deals, with it noting when the initial story broke: ‘All discussions are at a highly preliminary stage and there can be no certainty that any transaction will occur.’

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach), Deutsche Telekom (DT), EE, O2 UK, Orange Group, Telefonica