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BT completes EE acquisition on schedule

BT has completed its £12.5bn acquisition of EE on schedule, with the mobile operator set to become a new business unit in the wider group

A year after first striking a deal, BT has formally rubber-stamped its £12.5bn acquisition of mobile network operator EE.

This comes a fortnight after the deal was given the final thumbs up by the Competition and Markets Authority after a lengthy probe.

“As BT is a smaller operator in mobile, it is unlikely that the merger will have a significant effect,” said CMA inquiry chairman John Wotton in his summing up.

“Similarly, EE is only a minor player in retail broadband, so again it is unlikely that the merger will have a significant effect in this market.”

As news of the closure broke, EE was already beginning to shuffle its leadership team in preparation for the changes that lie ahead.

Having already said that CEO Olaf Swantee will be departing, it revealed it was also losing its chief marketing officer of brand and consumer Pippa Dunn; its chief financial officer (CFO) Neal Milsom; its chief of customer service Francoise Clemes; and its chief performance officer Ralf Brandmeier.

Olaf Swantee commented: “I have been incredibly lucky to have worked with this team during the past four and a half years – they are all talented, courageous and driven leaders whose contribution to our success cannot be underestimated. I would like to thank them for all their hard work, and wish them every success for the future.”

BT is expected to reveal more details of its immediate plans for EE when it releases its latest set of quarterly results on Monday 1 February. EE said its new CEO Marc Allera will simultaneously outline a new team and structure.

It is already known that under Allera’s leadership, EE will function as a distinct business unit inside BT, while its parents Deutsche Telekom and Orange will take control of a 12% stake and a 4% stake in BT, respectively.

However, in the short term it appears as if little will change, particularly with regard to EE’s branding.

“The EE brand has benefited from strong investment to become synonymous with widespread 4G coverage,” said CCS Insight analyst Kester Mann.

“A greater priority for BT is the behind-the-scenes integration of the UK’s largest fixed-line and mobile operators. Only then should it look to articulate changes to consumers.”

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