O2 in talks with owner of Three Mobile over sale

By Steven Hawthorn on 19/01/15

Telefónica, who owns O2, is reportedly in talks with Hutchison Whampoa, who owns Three Mobile, to sell the mobile broadband provider.

The reports have come shortly after the possible sale of O2 to BT fell through in December 2014, as the communications giant began talks with EE. 

Since last summer, Telefónica has been considering O2’s future, in a bid to keep up with the strengthening of mergers and acquisitions between companies that has been seen over recent months. 

According to the Financial Times, an unnamed person has said potential partners also include TalkTalk and Sky. 

It has also been claimed that no deal has been made to sell O2 to the owner of Three Mobile, and that there was no guarantee an agreement will be made. 

Hutchinson Whampoa, which is owned by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, has been seeking to strengthen its presence within European telecoms, with a deal already being made to sell Telefónica’s Vimpelcom. 

Experts have said that a sale of O2 in the UK would be an “aggressive move”, as the Spanish telecoms group is expected to want more than £8 billion for their business. 

It’s also been claimed Telefónica is more interested in cash rather than a share with another company, because of its need to reduce debt. 

Both parties have so far declined to comment. 

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