Orange executive sees BT/EE deal closing by early 2016

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 16, 2014 1:00 PM

PARIS (Reuters) - British telecoms group BT's <BT.L> plan to buy UK mobile operator EE for 12.5 billion pounds ($19.7 billion) should be completed by end-2015 or early 2016, said a senior executive of French group Orange <ORAN.PA> which owns half of the business.

Speaking on BFM Business radio on Tuesday, Gervais Pellissier, Orange's executive director for Europe, also said the proceeds of the sale could allow Orange to avoid raising capital to fund its own proposed acquisition - that of Spanish broadband specialist Jazztel <JAZ.MC>.

Pellessier was speaking a day after BT announced it had entered exclusive talks with Orange and EE's co-owner Deutsche Telekom <DTEGn.DE> for a deal that would give the former UK state telecoms firm the top position in British mobile as well as fixed line broadband services.

(1 euro = 0.7938 pounds)

(Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic; editing by Leigh Thomas)