Virgin Media O2 plans fiber joint venture in broadband push – reports

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Jan 30 (Reuters) – British company Virgin Media O2 plans to set up a joint venture to build fibre-optic networks with owners Liberty Global (LBTYA.O) and Telefonica SA (TEF.MC) as the group intends to sell BT Group PLC (BT .L) in the high-speed broadband market, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

Telefónica and Liberty Global, which last year oversaw the merger of Virgin Media and O2 to create the expanded group, will begin contacting potential investors this week, but some informal talks have already begun, the report said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The new company is seeking a sizeable sum of third-party investors and the external capital injection could eventually total as much as £1 billion ($1.34 billion), according to another Sky News report.

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Last year, the British cable and mobile operator announced that it would upgrade its entire network, which serves 15.5 million buildings, to all-fiber by 2028. Read more

Virgin Media’s closest competitor, BT, has also set a target of bringing fiber broadband to 25 million buildings by the end of 2026.

Last year, Virgin owner Liberty Global and Spain’s Telefonica agreed on a $44 billion merger. The 50:50 joint venture is managed by Virgin Media boss Lutz Schüler. Continue reading

Virgin Media, Telefonica and Liberty Global did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

($1 = 0.7465 pounds)

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Reporting by Jaiveer Singh Shekhawat in Bengaluru; Adaptation by Toby Chopra

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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