5/7/2009 2:27:00 PM
BT mulls £3.5bn bid for T-Mobile UK
BT has emerged as a frontrunner in a possible acquisition of T-Mobile UK.
The UK division of Deutsche Telekom (DT) has faced speculation of its future amid shareholder pressure to sell off the ailing UK mobile business, and comments made by DT chief Rene Obermann.
BT chief Ian Livingston is known to be harbouring interest in making a serious mobile play, with the telecoms business in need of a mobile business to meet its ambitions as a fixed-line and mobile services operator.
Sources close to the matter have placed a £3.5bn value on T-Mobile UK, as private equity firm Blackstone and the German Government are seen as the shareholders angling for a sale of the UK business.
Obermann said last week: ‘We feel the UK market is competitive, and consolidation would do good for that market.’
The UK business is poised to welcome Richard Moat as its new managing director in June, which was exclusively revealed by Mobile last month.
Speculation last week identified Orange as a potential bidder, but France Telecom finance chief appeared to pour cold water on an imminent deal.
T-Mobile’s UK rivals have been pushing for consolidation among operators, arguing there is too much competition, but have been reluctant to buy T-Mobile because of the limited advantages a deal would directly bring.
BT is seen as a more likely bidder as it lacks its own mobile infrastructure, and its own fixed-line business for consumers is seen as under threat by the likes of Orange, O2 and Virgin Media, which are arguably better placed for consumers wanting a combined fixed-line and mobile package.