BT opts for wireless flotation over Telefonica merger

BT has confirmed plans to press ahead with the flotation of 25% of its wireless division, despite weekend reports that it would abandon the partial offering in favour of a £50bn merger with Spanish operator Telefonica.

LONDON (Brand Republic) - BT has confirmed plans to press ahead with the flotation of 25% of its wireless division, despite weekend reports that it would abandon the partial offering in favour of a £50bn merger with Spanish operator Telefonica.

BT announced plans to partially float BT Wireless, home to mobile operator BT Cellnet, at its full-year results in November last year. The move was part of a series of offerings designed to help reduce the group’s burgeoning £30bn debt.

However, the announcement was received with some scepticism by investors who were concerned about mobile stocks. A partial flotation was also deemed insufficient to resolve doubts about the telecom company’s future.

A merger with Telefonica was widely expected to strengthen the company’s European footprint. This would allow it to compete more effectively with rivals Vodafone and Orange.