EE buys Mainline in business customer focus

EE, currently the subject of a £12.5 billion (€15.7 billion/$19.6 billion) bid by BT, has made an acquisition of its own by snapping up shares it did not already own in communications distributor Mainline Communications.

The UK-based mobile operator, which did not disclose the value of the deal, said the move supports its ambition to be the number one communications provider for business and represents a major part of its "strategic multi-million pound investment into its B2B channel capabilities."

EE already held a 26 per cent share in Mainline and has been working with the company over a number of years. Mainline will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of EE and will continue to operate under the Mainline brand.

"Mainline is a highly responsive, efficient, and entrepreneurial distributor with excellent business practices and partnerships," said Gerry McQuade, CMO at EE. "By acquiring Mainline, we will be able to extend their capabilities in support of our indirect B2B sales strategy and help us achieve our goal to be the top communications provider for businesses in the UK."

Andrew Boden, managing director at Mainline, will be leaving the company but will continue to support EE and Mainline for a transitional period, EE added.

Meanwhile BT's plans to buy EE are rumbling along, with latest reports suggesting the former UK incumbent is preparing a massive financing package to fund the deal.

According to the Telegraph, the package will include a £2 billion share placing to keep BT's debt at a manageable level as it faces other big bills; the operator is stumping up more money for Premier League football rights and is also understood to face increased pension fund payments next year.

Quoting unnamed sources, the Telegraph said BT is also expected to raise around £3 billion in the bond markets. Beyond that, BT plans to hand over 12 per cent of its stock worth £4 billion to Deutsche Telekom and 4 per cent valued at £1.3 billion to Orange. As things stand, BT is engaged in exclusive talks with the two parent companies of EE in order to agree the details of the proposed transaction.

For more:
- see this EE release
- see this Telegraph article

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