O2 CEO Ronan Dunne is believed to be considering a £8.5bn management buyout of the network.
According to reports by The Daily Telegraph, Dunne has been approached by a number of private equity investors. They are in the early stages of discussing whether it would be possible for Dunne to take the network independent.
The news comes as the Euro watchdog formally blocked the takeover of O2 by Three owners CK Hutchison. The deal fell through at the last hurdle after Hutch failed to impress the European Commission with UK competition remedies.
Telefonica has previously said that it would consider new buyers for O2, with Virgin Media owner Liberty Global recently expressing interest in the network.
An O2 spokesperson declined the opportunity to comment on Dunne's plans, however the network confirmed it was considering 'a number of different options from people who are appraoched us as we are still under contract with Hutchison until the end of June.'
The long term O2 chief has previously hit back at regulator criticism of Hutch’s takeover bid, claiming convergence in the market has opened up is space in the market for a ‘mobile first operator’.
Speaking at a media roundtable at this year’s Mobile World Congress, he said: ‘In the market place in the UK you’ve seen a substantial move towards convergence. Vodafone has acquired Cable & Wireless, Sky has announced its entry into the mobile sector, and BT has bought EE. So the question the regulator has to ask itself is: how do you have a sustainable operating model that delivers choice in the UK?
‘It’s perfectly plausible that there is a different market scenario – one where there is a compelling argument that for competition to remain strong in the UK there needs to be a strong mobile first operator to be a counter balance for a converged offering.’