BT enters EE takeover talks

<p>BT could be set to purchase EE for £12.5 billion.</p>

BT Group has opened talks about a possible multi-billion pound takeover of the EE mobile network.

In November, the company had held preliminary discussions with Orange and Deutsche Telekom, owners of EE, about a potential deal that would see BT acquire EE. It had also been in "highly preliminary" talks with Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica about a similar move for the O2 mobile network but it now seems that it has turned its attentions to EE.

Should the deal gain approval, BT will pay £12.5 billion for the mobile network on a debt/cash free basis. Under the new agreement, Deutsche Telekom would retain a 12 per cent stake in BT and would be entitled to appoint one member of the BT board of directors. Orange would hold a four per cent stake in the operation.

In a statement, BT said: "The proposed acquisition would enable BT to accelerate its existing mobility strategy whereby customers will benefit from innovative, seamless services that combine the power of fibre broadband, Wi-Fi and 4G. BT would own the UK’s most-advanced 4G network, giving it greater control in terms of future investment and product innovation."

EE has become the largest mobile provider in the UK following a merger between Orange and T Mobile in 2010. It has been able to usher in new technology into the mobile sector such as 4G broadband making it easier for users to download movies onto their device as well as streaming music and TV programmes.

If BT is successful in its takeover of EE it help to reinforce its position as the dominant force within the UK telecoms sector. The company is also the only within the sector that owns mobile masts along with a significant broadband network. Analysts believe that £12.5 billion will be paid in half cash and the rest coming through a rights issue or share placement.

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