Telefónica to complete the largest corporate transaction in its history with its UK merger on Tuesday

Telefónica takes O2, its UK subsidiary, into the fold and allies with Virgin Media (Liberty)
El consejero delegado de Telefónica, José María Álvarez-Pallete. AFP/PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

AFP/PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU  -   Telefónica's CEO, José María Álvarez-Pallete

Telefónica will close the biggest corporate deal in its history on Tuesday when the company that brings together O2, its UK subsidiary, and Virgin Media (Liberty) begins operations after receiving all the relevant competition approvals.

From 1 June, the two parties will begin the integration process, a journey that the two companies believe will generate synergies valued at £6.2 billion (7.211 billion euros at current exchange rates), excluding integration costs.

O2 will bring annual revenues of GBP 5.962 billion (EUR 6.9 billion) and a customer base that exceeded 27 million mobile accesses at the end of the last quarter.

Virgin Media added more than 30,000 new customers, adding six million fixed customers and more than 3.5 million mobile customers, and closed 2020 with revenues of £5,129 million (EUR 5,965 million).

El grupo español Telefónica está en conversaciones con el gigante del cable estadounidense Liberty Global para fusionar sus operaciones de telecomunicaciones en Reino Unido. AFP/TOLGA AKMEN
AFP/TOLGA AKMEN-Spain's Telefónica Group is in talks with US cable giant Liberty Global to merge their UK telecoms operations.

The joint venture plans to invest £10 billion over the next five years in infrastructure (€11.628 billion).

Telefónica will contribute O2 debt-free while Virgin Media will inject £11.3 billion (€13.142 billion) into the liability group. From the recapitalisation of the group, and following a compensation payment from Liberty, Telefónica is expected to receive £5.7 billion (€6.6 billion) to pay down debt.

The new entity will be run by a board made up equally of Telefónica and Virgin Media executives with Virgin executive Lutz Schüler as CEO.

The Spanish company will be represented by Patricia Cobián, as chief financial officer; Adrián di Meo, as chief information officer; Enrique Medina, in charge of the legal department; Gareth Turpin, as commercial director of Mobile and Services; Jo Bertram, as commercial director for Companies and Businesses, and Nicola Green, who will head Communications and Corporate Affairs.

Telefónica está en conversaciones sobre una posible integración de su negocio de telefonía móvil O2 y Liberty's Virgin Media que proporciona una mezcla de servicios de telecomunicaciones y televisión AFP/TOLGA AKMEN
AFP/TOLGA AKMEN-Telefonica is in talks about a possible integration of its mobile business O2 and Liberty's Virgin Media, which provides a mix of telecommunications and television services.
The last few years of O2

Over the past five years, Telefónica's UK subsidiary has grown to become the mobile network with the most accesses in 2017, a position it has not relinquished since.

Telefónica has a 5G network covering more than 180 towns and cities and a 4G network present in 19,230 locations and in full expansion thanks to an agreement with Three and Vodafone to improve mobile coverage across the country, especially in rural areas, with the aim of reaching 95% of Britons by 2026.

On the horizon, the company also plans to be the first UK telecommunications company to achieve a zero-emission mobile network later this year.