Reports: Three joins race to buy EE or O2

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Parent company Hutchison Whampoa to bid for one of two operators who are up for sale

Three’s parent’s company, Hutchison Whampoa, is reportedly preparing a bid for EE or O2 following both operators confirming they were open to a sale.

News of the talks was reported by Reuters and speculation follows the news that BT was in discussions with both about a possible sale earlier this week.

BT and O2 confirmed talks on Monday while EE confirmed it was in discussions on Wednesday.

Chinese multinational Hutchison has been active in mergers and acquisitions in recent months, finally completing a deal with Telefonica to purchase O2 Ireland for around £690 million.

How a bid by Three would be received by regulators is uncertain with Ofcom previously stating that they are happy with the UK having four operators. A purchase of BT, while creating a dominant telecoms player, would keep the current mobile landscape intact.

EE has been valued by analysts at around £10 billion while O2 is valued at around £9 billion.

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