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Three owner in talks to buy O2 for £10 billion

A deal between Hutchison Whampoa and Telefonica would create the UK's largest mobile phone operator. Credit: Ian West/PA

Three owner Hutchison Whampoa has entered exclusive talks to buy O2 in a £10 billion deal which would create the UK's largest mobile phone operator.

Spain's Telefonica is hoping to sell O2 to the Hong Kong group after BT spurned the chance to buy the business in favour of EE.

The group said it had entered talks "over a period of several weeks" to buy O2 for £9.25 billion in cash followed by deferred payments of up to £1 billion.

A statement from Telefonica said: "Telefonica has entered into an exclusivity agreement with Hutchison Whampoa in relation to Hutchison's potential acquisition of O2 UK, Telefonica's subsidiary in the United Kingdom, for £10.25bn in cash."


Osborne: ECB support 'necessary but not sufficient'

Chancellor George Osborne says financial support from the European Central Bank is "necessary but not sufficient" to ensure a recovery in the eurozone economy.

Speaking in Davos, Mr Osborne said the "drastic action" taken by the ECB showed the weakness of the European economy compared to the British economy, as he called on governments to ensure they had their public finances "in order".

The Chancellor said Britain supported any measures that would make the European economy stronger.


Osborne: IMF forecast shows Britain is pulling ahead

The latest International Monetary Fund forecast shows that the UK is pulling ahead despite the global economy being downgraded, the Chancellor George Osborne has said.

In a series of tweets he said:

His comments come after the International Monetary Fund predicted that the UK economy will grow by 2.7% this year, but lowered its forecast for global growth.

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