Quentin Webb is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist, covering mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and private equity. He is based in London. Before becoming a columnist, he was a news reporter for Reuters, where he was most recently European M&A correspondent. He has also worked as a correspondent in Brussels and as a credit-markets reporter. He joined Reuters in 2003 from Legalease, a legal publisher. He has a first-class degree in psychology from University College London. Follow Quentin on Twitter @qtwebb
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If the former British Telecom buys Telefonica’s UK mobile business, it will regain a unit demerged in 2001. The round-trip is unusual but forgivable. 02’s demerger delivered good returns for BT investors who kept their stock. BT refocused, and its re-entry to UK mobile is timely.
The fixed-line telco has shaken up UK communications by pushing into TV and now mobile. The reward is that BT has a choice of two mobile networks to buy, O2 or EE, and few likely counter-bidders. A 10 bln stg deal would help lift sales and protect BT’s broadband business.
The casino’s private equity owners are haggling with creditors. One idea is to split a key unit into operating and property arms, as rivals have. Such financial engineering would fit well with Apollo and TPG’s earlier moves to turn this top-of-the-market LBO into a decent bet.
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