Mobile network Three to acquire O2 in £10 billion deal

Mobile network Three has announced it has started exclusive takeover talks with rival O2.


Three’s parent company, Hutchinson Whampoa, has confirmed it is ready to pay £10.25 billion for larger rival O2 in a deal that would create the largest mobile network in the UK with over 31 million customers and futher reduce the number of network operators in the UK to just three.


As recently as 2010, the UK had five mobile phone networks, but that became four following the merger of Orange and T-Mobile to create EE.


Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, has long said it wishes to retain four competing network operators within the UK, but the final decision on whether to let the deal go ahead will rest with European Union competition authorities.