BT, the company once known as British Telecom, said on Monday that it is now exclusively negotiating a possible £12.5 billion ($19.6 billion) takeover of the mobile carrier EE, a joint venture of Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and France’s Orange. BT and EE are now in a period of exclusivity that will last for “several weeks”, during which time BT will “complete its due diligence and for negotiations on a definitive agreement to be concluded.”
BT Group Plc (BT/A) started exclusive talks to acquire Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) and Orange SA (ORA)’s British wireless venture EE for 12.5 billion pounds ($19.5 billion), moving ahead with a deal that’s set to spur more mergers in the U.K. telecommunications market. The payments, in cash and new BT shares, would be split equally between Deutsche Telekom and Orange, the companies said in separate statements today. BT would get EE’s 28 million wireless customers. The period of exclusivity will last “several weeks” and any deal will need approval by BT shareholders, the London-based carrier said. Deutsche Telekom and Orange beat Telefonica SA (TEF), which was negotiating to sell its U.K. division O2 to BT.