HomeNewsFT-Orange quashes rumours of EE sale to AT&T

    FT-Orange quashes rumours of EE sale to AT&T


    FT-Orange, EE’s parent with Deutsche Telekom, told Mobile Europe there is no prospect of selling the UK joint venture to AT&T and sees no credibility in articles suggesting this.

    Numerous recent articles in national and trade publications discuss the possibility of AT&T buying either EE or Dutch operator KPN.

    Both FT-O and DT are happy with the way the company is performing, with its management and have consistently stated that view.

    AT&T made no comment.

    Buying a retail operator, let alone a European mobile one, could bring more problems than assets for the American giant.

    It would be a significant culture shock for AT&T requiring negotiations with EU regulators determined to stimulate competition; operating in unfamiliar fiercely competitive and price sensitive markets; and handling the complexities of European mobile networks which largely operate in different frequencies to those in the US.

    All a far cry from its relatively cosy US mobile market where telcos hardly have to fight to attract or keep customers.

    Ovum analyst Steven Hartley told Mobile Europe that a more likely move for the American firm would be to buy a wholesale, backbone or global provider.

    That would be a better fit with AT&T’s strategy of supplying global enterprise communications for US based corporations.

    Hartley suggested: “It would be more logical for EE to go to an IPO especially as it’s being re-branded as an independent company. T-Mobile and Orange joined forces in the UK because things were not going their way in what is a highly competitive and saturated market.”

    DT spokesperson Andreas Fuchs said both itself and FT-O are “very confident in the management strategy which aims to strengthen EE’s leading position in the UK, leverage on the largest 3G network and first LTE network roll-out, further progress the integration of T-Mobile and Orange and increase the profitability of this business in the coming years.”

    He added: “In that respect, DT and FT-O have decided to conduct a strategic review of the asset and consider all options which could include an IPO.”

    An FT-O spokesperson expressed a similar view adding it is very happy with the EE business, which is going very well.

    In the event of an IPO, both parents would likely retain a significant stake in EE.