O2 boss Ronan Dunne linked to £8.5bn management buyout

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Report over the weekend has suggested he is considering the move following the collapse of its £10.25bn sale to CK Hutchison

O2 chief executive Ronan Dunne has been linked to a £8.5 billion management buyout of the operator after its £10.25 billion sale to CK Hutchison was rejected by the EC.

According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, which cites unnamed sources, Dunne (pictured) has been approached recently by potential private equity investors to carry out the transaction.

O2 executives are weighing up such a deal to assess whether it would be feasible for Dunne to take it independent, sources said.

The discussions are in their early stages and are understood not to involve O2’s parent company Telefonica, which remains bound by an exclusive agreement with Hutchison until the end of June.

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Alexander interested

One consortium reportedly interested in buying O2 is being led by former Orange UK chief executive Tom Alexander (pictured right), and includes private equity firms Apax and CVC Capital Partners.

Sources told The Daily Telegraph that Dunne and Alexander have not spoken about teaming up on such a deal in the past two weeks, but that Dunne would also be willing to consider buyout proposals with or without the Alexander’s involvement.

O2 declined to comment.

Virgin Media parent company Liberty Global continues to be linked with O2, with chief executive Mike Fries stating last week: “It would be strange if we didn’t evaluate that option.”

The report added that Sky may be open to investing in O2 to help it acquire more radio spectrum rights or improve its coverage but that it will not make a takeover bid.

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