UK's Virgin Media and O2 to merge in $38 billion deal

(Image credit: Telefónica)

What you need to know

  • Two of the UK's biggest telecoms companies are merging.
  • O2 and Virgin Media are joining forces in a 50-50 venture.
  • The deal is said to be worth some £31 billion ($38 billion).

Telefónica has today announced that it is merging its U.K operations with Liberty Global, meaning that Virgin Media and O2 are coming together in a 50-50 joint venture.

A press release from the company:

Liberty Global and Telefónica to merge their U.K. operations creating the leading fixed-mobile provider in the countryKey Highlights50-50 joint venture brings together Virgin Media, the U.K.'s fastest broadband network, and O2, the country's largest mobile platformCombination creates a stronger fixed and mobile competitor in the U.K. market, supporting the expansion of Virgin Media's giga-ready network and O2's 5G mobile deployment for the benefit of consumers, businesses and the public sector

The release notes that the merger will result in £10 billion worth of investments in the UK over the next five years. CEO of Telefonica, Jose Maria Alvareze-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 U.K., at a time when demand for connectivity has never been greater or more critical. We are creating a strong competitor with significant scale and financial strength to invest in UK digital infrastructure and give millions of consumer, business and public sector customers more choice and value. This is a proud and exciting moment for our organisations, as we create a leading integrated communications provider in the U.K."

Twitter was rightly less enthused at the prospect:

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Stephen Warwick