Vodafone to buy 3?

John Hauxwell says “reports are circulating in London today that Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa has put its UK mobile phone business 3 UK up for sale. Goldman Sachs has been appointed adviser and an official announcement is expected to be made on Thursday.”  Alan Patrick has also picked up on this story.

Equally The Times is reporting that Arun Sarin, the chief executive, who has recently adopted a cautious approach to new acquisitions, said that if 3’s European assets went up for sale “then we would look at them”. I’m sure Vodafone have their reasons.

I still think that in the next couple of years we will see a lot more mergers activity which will result in a smaller number of quad players offering us discounted services and content.  Recently we have witnessed Tiscali buying HomeChoice and CarphoneWarehouse acquiring AOL Uk’s broadband access business.

Then last week we saw NTL announce it was interested in buying ITV.  BT’s CEO Ben Verwaayen also announced BT will certainly launch its BT (IPTV) Vision service before Christmas and that lots more content deals like the one from Disney will be announced in the coming weeks.

I still think that we are only at the start of this UK consolidation; I wonder whose next?