Three Owner Wants to Swipe in and Nab O2 or EE Before BT

By Gerald Lynch on at

BT's plan to buy one of the UK's major mobile networks seems to have caught the attention of Hutchison Whampoa, the Chinese owner of Three UK, according to Reuters. It too is now said to be preparing a bid for either EE or O2, as it looks to sure up its position in the face of a potentially monopolising move by BT.

Three's in an interesting position, having already bought O2's Irish business, while Hutchison Whampoa used to have a major chunk of Orange, which owns 50 per cent of EE. BT would likely struggle with regulators over anti-competitive business practices if it was to go for EE, making O2 its more likely option. But Three's existing relationship with O2 Ireland may throw a spanner in the works there, while Three's smaller size would make a partnership with EE much easier to push past the regulators too for Hutchison Whampoa's network too. [Reuters]