Orange CEO: Current EE ownership model isn’t long-term

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Split 50/50 ownership with Deutsche Telekom is not a long term solution according to Stephane Richard

Orange CEO Stephane Richard has fuelled rumours that EE will be floated on the stock market after admitting that the UK operator’s current structure is not sustainable in the long term.

EE is a joint venture between French operator Orange and German operator Deutsche Telekom who each own 50 per cent of the network, and Richard has said Orange will work with the German firm to decide EE’s future.

Richard told the Morgan Stanley telecom, media and technology conference in Barcelona the 50-50 situation “isn’t a long term scheme.”

Richard added: “In the mid-term future, we will have to think with the Germans about the evolution of EE. All options are open”

Richard ruled out a sale in the short-term, however, saying that Orange were happy with EE’s performance. The operator is the UK’s largest with 31 million customers overall (including M2M) and Europe’s biggest 4G provider with 5.4 million users.

“We have some strategic issues ahead of us. EE needs to be also in this convergent market in the future,” Richard added.

On a quick sale, he said: “Don’t expect anything spectacular in the short-term.”

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