Britain’s BT group is looking to return to the UK mobile market, and sources say it is in talks with both Telefonica and EE to buy their businesses.
Telefonica operates the 02 network in the UK, which was set up originally by BT before a 2001 sell-off. Telefonica might let 02 go for a 20% stake in BT and a grand strategic alliance.
Telefonica only bought 02 eight years ago, but is struggling with a debt mountain it has to reduce to 43 billion euros by the end of the year. It is being forced to sell assets to cut that burden.
All companies concerned saw their share prices rise on the news.