Hutchison Whampoa, the company that owns the Three UK mobile network, is said to be preparing a £9bn bid for Telefonica-owned O2, according to the Sunday Times.
Talks are said to be at a very early stage, but the Hong Kong based owner of Three has already allegedly called upon the services of investment bank UBS AG to investigate the viability of a purchase. Three and O2 have previous, too -- Three owns O2's Irish business, picking up the network in June 2013 for €780 million.
The second largest mobile network in the UK, O2 had recently also been a potential takeover target for BT prior to its £12.5 billion acquisition of EE. Should Hutchison Whampoa pick up O2, combining the network with Three would give the company the largest customer count in the country. BT and EE's newly-strengthened position would then seem preemptive, whilst Vodafone may be left fighting for scraps. [Bloomberg via Sunday Times]
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