Jan 30 (Reuters) – Britain’s Virgin Media O2 plans to launch a fiber network building joint venture with owners Liberty Global (LBTYA.O) and Telefonica SA (TEF.MC), as the group aims to take control of BT Group PLC (BT .L) in the broadband market, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

Telefónica and Liberty Global, which oversaw the merger of Virgin Media and O2 to create the expanded group last year, will begin contacting potential investors this week, but informal talks have already begun, the report said, citing a person familiar with folder.

The new company is seeking a substantial sum from third-party investors and the injection of external capital could eventually total up to 1 billion pounds ($1.34 billion), according to another Sky News report.

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Last year, the UK cable and mobile provider announced that it would upgrade its entire network serving 15.5 million premises to full fiber by 2028. read more

Virgin Media’s immediate rival BT has also set itself the goal of bringing fiber broadband to 25 million premises by the end of 2026.

Last year, the owner of Virgin Liberty Global and Spain’s Telefonica agreed to a $44 billion merger. The 50/50 joint venture is led by Virgin Media boss Lutz Schüler. Read more

Virgin Media, Telefonica and Liberty Global did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

($1 = 0.7465 pounds)

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Reporting by Jaiveer Singh Shekhawat in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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