BT acquisition announcement expected “this week”

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Reports in UK press claim BT could even announce decision on EE or O2 buyout as early as today

BT is expected to make an announcement on whether it will purchase O2 or EE early this week, with some reports suggesting it could reveal takeover plans today.

According to the reports, some of Europe’s most senior telecoms dealmakers were in London this weekend as talks between BT and both O2 and EE about a potential takeover continued.

Telefonica chief executive officer Cesar Alierta reportedly visited London on Thursday as negotiations between O2, a Telefonica subsidiary, and BT escalated. Executives from EE owners Orange and Deutsche Telekom are also believed to have visited the capital last week.

The owners of both EE and O2 have admitted that they are in takeover talks with the UK’s largest fixed line provider, who is looking to return to the mobile market in order to offer quad-play packages of fixed line, broadband, mobile and TV.

O2 was the mobile arm of BT, operating as BT Cellnet, until it was span off to reduce debts in 2001. It is believed to be the cheaper option, with estimates valuing a deal at around £9.4 billion.

EE is the UK’s largest network, with 27 million mobile subscribers, and it is believed it would cost nearer to £11 billion. The reports suggest BT favours a deal with O2, but is still open to an EE buyout.

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