[UPDATED: CONFIRMED] Virgin and O2 planning merger to make new mobile network in UK

Update, 07/05: Liberty Global, which owns Virgin Media, has said that both companies had agreed on terms for merging. Telefonica’s CEO, Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, said: “Combining O2’s number one mobile business with Virgin Media’s superfast broadband network and entertainment services will be a game-changer in the UK, at a time when demand for connectivity has never been greater or more critical.”

It’s currently not known when the changes to the brand will take place but it will likely be after the pandemic. The move will create a major competitor to BT, which owns EE.

Two of the largest mobile phone networks in the United Kingdom are in talks to make a new mobile and TV platform, which will take on Sky and BT who currently offer both of those services to users.

It’s understood by The Guardian that Liberty Global, owner of Virgin Media, is in discussions with Spanish telecoms firm Telefonica to merge all of their assets. The deal would bring Virgin and O2’s customers together, forming the largest network in the UK with over 34 million people.

“A deal between Virgin Media and O2 would bring together the mobile operator’s 34m customers, the largest network in the UK, with the cable operator’s 5.3m broadband, pay-TV and mobile users”

It comes after Three attempted to buy out O2 in 2015, with a £10.25b deal, but was blocked in doing so by the European Commission. The new deal may also include part of ITV, broadcaster, as Liberty Global also has a 10% stake in that business. ITV’s share price has dropped and suggests popular TV shows like Coronation Street and Love Island have been hit badly by the current pandemic.

All companies declined to comment.

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Ben Ward
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