Private equity firms eye up O2 takeover

Private equity firms eye up O2 takeover

O2 is once again up for grabs as two of Europe’s largest private equity firms are considering forming a consortium to buy the network from its owners Telefonica.

 

The agreement, as reported in the Sunday Times would see F1 racing owners CVC Capital Partners team up with Apax Partners to find the capital to make the required share purchase.

 

Following the failed takeover by Three’s owners Hutchison Whampoa other non-industry players such as KKR and Blackstone are also mentioned likely suitors for an O2 purchase. Network chief Ronan Dunne has also stepped into the fray, amid rumours that he is considering a management buyout.

 

Virgin Media owners Liberty Global and French budget mobile operator Illiad have also set their sights on O2.

 

O2’s heavily indebted parent Telefonica are said to be looking to offload their UK arm in order to reduce their debts, making a quick sell preferable for the Spanish multinational.

 

Earlier in the year, Apax and KKR had prepared a bid to takeover EE but were rejected in favour of BT.

 

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