BT has revealed it is in talks to buy EE, the largest cellular data provider in the UK.
O2 was also being considered for purchase, but it’s now confirmed that BT is looking to spring for EE exclusively.
The mobile network is currently owned by two cellular data providers, namely France’s Orange and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom.
“The proposed acquisition would enable BT to accelerate its existing mobile strategy,” said BT, in a statement.
“It has entered into an exclusivity agreement with Deutsche Telekom and Orange in relation to BT’s possible acquisition of all their UK mobile business.”
It continued: “The period of exclusivity will last several weeks allowing BT to complete its due diligence and for negotiations on a definitive agreement to be concluded.”
If BT was to buy out EE, it would mean the telecoms giant would cover fixed-line telephones, broadband internet, mobile internet, and TV services.
A price is yet to be confirmed, but the figure currently being considered is £12.5 billion on a debt/cash free basis.
The sum will reportedly be payable through a combination of both cash and BT shares, issued directly to Deutsche Telekom and Orange.
This would leave Deutsche Telekom holding a 12 per cent stake in BT, while Orange would lay claim to a slightly smaller 4 per cent.
BT added: “The exclusivity agreement does not require the parties to enter into a transaction and there can be no assurances that one will occur. If a transaction is agreed, approval by BT’s shareholders will be required as a condition of the purchase.”
EE currently has 24.5m direct mobile customers, holds 33.8 per cent of the UK mobile market in terms of revenue, and currently boasts the most expansive 4G/LTE network in the UK.
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