Speculation has emerged from reports from Reuters that mobile operator 3 could be preparing to make a bid for either O2 or EE. Hutchison Whampoa, the owner of 3 Group, could put forward a bid for either EE or Telefonica’s O2 by the end of the year as BT is expected to decide on a deal in coming weeks, Reuters claimed.
BT is currently in talks with with both O2 and EE, which is owned by Orange and Deutsche Telekom.
Sources have claimed a deal with EE would make a lot of sense for Hutchison given the high quality of the asset and because the companies already cooperate in Britain through a network sharing agreement deal.
But EE’s owners, Orange and Deutsche Telekom, may find it tough to agree a price as Hutchison has a reputation as a tough negotiator, Reuters claimed.
Buying O2, which analysts value at about £9.4bn, would be more digestible for Hutchison than EE, valued at £11bn.
We will bring you more developments as they occur but this is undoubtedly going to turn into a major shift in the UK telecoms landscape.