Three owner Hutchison Whampoa is set to make a takeover bid for O2, it has been claimed, in the latest rumoured major merger in the UK mobile market.
According to a Sunday Times report, the Hong Kong–based company will offer £9 billion for O2, which is currently owned by Spanish firm Telefonica.
Before BT confirmed it was tabling a £12.5 billion offer for EE, it revealed that it was also looking at buying O2.
If Hutchinson’s deal comes off, a combined Three and O2 network would be the largest in the UK and leave only three major players alongside EE and Vodafone.
The latter would likely be left trailing in the wake of the two newly merged companies.
Although talks are said to be in their nascent stages, Hutchinson has previous when it comes to negotiations with O2. It bought O2 Ireland in 2013 in a €780 million deal.
Neither network has made an official statement about any deal, but expect to hear plenty more about any tie-up in the next few weeks.