Tesco Mobile Could be Sold to Help Pay Off Supermarket's Debt Pile

By Gary Cutlack on at

Popular bargain network Tesco Mobile could be about to join the UK's mobile operator consolidation party, with rumours suggesting Tesco's preparing to sell its mobile division to help pay off some of the debts that are hindering the besieged retail giant.

According to the Financial Times, Tesco's chief executive Dave Lewis is keen on the deal as part of a plan to sell off the chain's non-core assets, with the FT suggesting Tesco has already instructed a team of bankers to look at selling the business that resells O2's spectrum as its own as part of a joint venture with O2.

It could be quite an earner for Tesco should it be sold. Tesco Mobile currently has around 4m subscribers, and is thought to have contributed around £100m to Tesco's profit figures over the last year -- although that's a pretty small drop in the ocean considering the chain recorded a staggering £6.4bn loss for the last financial year.

Tesco's already binned Blinkbox this year for a relatively paltry amount of money. Business folk suggest mobile firms are selling for around a seven-times-profit multiple at the moment, which could see Tesco bag a useful £700m at the very least for selling its mobile arm. [FT via City AM, Guardian]