Telecoms group BT will buy mobile operator EE for £12.5bn, forming a communications giant that will provide fixed-line, mobile, broadband and TV services.
Existing shareholders Orange and Deutsche Telekom will sell 100% of their shares, providing the deal is approved by BT shareholders and competition regulators.
BT said in a statement: "The combination of EE and BT will provide customers with innovative, seamless services that combine the power of fibre broadband with wi-fi and advanced mobile capabilities.”
EE currently leads the market in 4G, the fastest mobile bandwidth, with a customer base of 7.7 million subscribers.
BT says that within four years, the deal will be saving them £360m a year in operating costs, and should be able to generate an extra £1.6bn a year in sales.
BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said: "This is a major milestone for BT as it will allow us to accelerate our mobility plans and increase our investment in them. The UK’s leading 4G network will now dovetail with the UK’s biggest fibre network, helping to create the leading converged communications provider in the UK.”
BT’s acquisition of EE is part of a wider industry trend of telecoms companies to expand their business across mobile, broadband and TV, and market this as all-in-one multi-play packages to consumers. In recent weeks, Sky announced plans to launch its own mobile service, and Vodafone announced a move into broadband and cloud-TV.
The BT-EE deal is expected to be finalised by March next year.
DTG Staff | 05.02.2015