Deutsche Telekom and Orange have finally confirmed they are in talks with BT about the sale of their UK-based joint venture EE.
The announcement comes two days after BT and Telefónica revealed they are in discussions over the sale of O2.
BT is looking to add a mobile arm to its business in the UK as it bids to move towards a quad-play strategy.
DT and Orange released a short statement in which they said they are having “highly preliminary exploratory discussions” with BT.
The statement continued: “It is too early to state whether any transaction may occur. Deutsche Telekom and Orange will make further announcements if and when appropriate.”
The two operators said they “regularly analyse the development of the market in which EE operates, evaluating various strategic options which have the potential to create value for EE's shareholders and strengthen the market position of EE”.
EE is now the largest 4G LTE operator in Europe with more than six million such customers.
It also offers fixed voice and broadband services as well as 2G/3G mobile services via the Orange and T-Mobile brands. Last month, it launched a TV service.
In total it has 27 million customers, but is struggling to grow revenues. Q3 sales fell 2.5 percent year-on-year to £1.6 billion (€2 billion).
BT saw overall sales decline in the three months to September despite growth in its consumer broadband and TV business.
Analysts suggest a deal with Telefónica is more likely given it is a true mobile only player.
O2 saw Q3 sales rise 5.1 percent to €1.8 billion thanks to increased handset and data revenues.
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