BT confirms plan to buy EE for £12.5 billion (Wired UK)


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BT has confirmed it is in exclusive
talks to acquire EE for £12.5 billion. The
telecoms giant said that it would have “several weeks” to carry out
negotiations with Britain’s largest mobile phone network.

If it goes ahead, the takeover would enable BT to sell
so-called ‘quad play’ packages combining home phone, broadband, mobile and TV.
EE has around 24.5 million customers.

Under the terms of the deal, EE joint owners
Deutsche Telekom and Orange would take a 12 percent and 4 percent
stake in BT respectively. Deutsche Telekom would also be able to
appoint one member to the BT board.

In late November BT said it was in talks to buy either
EE or O2, sparking speculation as to which
network it would choose. Earlier this week industry sources suggested a simpler deal for
Telefonica-owned O2 was more likely with EE’s joint ownership
viewed as a big potential hurdle.

BT said the proposed acquisition of EE would allow it
to “accelerate its existing mobility strategy” and combine services
such as fibre broadband, Wi-Fi and 4G. EE is currently the UK’s
largest 4G network having launched the service
October 2012.

The exclusivity agreement does not confirm a deal
will take place. Negotiations are ongoing and BT’s shareholders
will have to give their approval of the purchase. Regulators are
also likely to take interest in the deal, which will give BT
control over vast swathes of the UK’s telecoms
infrastructure.

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15 December 2014 | 6:30 pm – Source: wired.co.uk

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