Reports in Spain suggest Sky and TalkTalk are in talks with Telefonica to buy UK network
Sky and TalkTalk have joined the race to buy O2 from Telefonica, according to reports from the Spanish press, while Virgin Media owner Liberty Global is reportedly eyeing up a bid.
Spanish newspaper Cincos Dias claimed that both Sky and TalkTalk are already in discussions with Telefonica over making a possible bid for the UK’s second largest network. Three owner Hutchinson Whampoa is also in preliminary talks, according to reports in the Sunday Times.
Telefonica revealed it was looking for a buyer for its UK network after confirming it was in talks with BT over a sale, but the UK broadband provider eventually chose EE.
“There is also speculation that Liberty Global is also showing interest, without forgetting the rumours about Talk Talk,” reported El Economista.
“Sources close to negotiations told the Spanish newspaper Cinco Días said that “nothing was being ruled out”. However, they added that all talks that have been held up to this point have been informal and non-binding.”
Telefonica is looking to alleviate debts of £32.6 billion (according to Telefonica’s financial results in September) and reports suggest the Spanish operator wants around £9 billion for O2, which has around 24 million customers in the UK.
Telefonica bought O2 from BT in 2005 for £17.7 billion, and bT was in discussions to buy either O2 or EE, but chose to enter exclusive talks with the latter.