Virgin Media, O2 plan merger to create new UK telecoms giant

Business

LONDON (AP) — Internet supplier Virgin Media and mobile phone carrier O2 plan to merge and create a big new telecommunications provider in the U.K., the brands’ parent companies announced Thursday.

Virgin Media’s owner, Anglo-Dutch-American firm Liberty Global, and Spain’s Telefonica, which owns O2, valued the new company at 31 billion pounds ($38 billion).

Telefonica chief executive Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete said that “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.”

The new firm would be a rival to BT PLC, currently the U.K.’s main provider of combined internet and phone services.

O2 is the U.K.’s largest phone company with about 34 million users. Virgin has more than 5 million subscribers to its broadband and cable television services.

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