June 12, 2015 / 9:15 AM / in 2 years

Britain's Virgin exploring possible purchase of Spain's Yoigo: report

MADRID (Reuters) - Britain’s Virgin Group is looking to potentially buy Spanish budget mobile operator Yoigo from Sweden’s TeliaSonera TLSN.ST, El Economista newspaper reported on Friday, citing sources with knowledge of the situation.

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson speaks at the Institute of Directors annual convention in London September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Virgin, run by billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson and which has spanned mobile phones, airlines and music stores, is studying ways break into the Spanish telecoms market and has held talks with Yoigo’s owners, the report said.

Virgin was not immediately available to comment, while TeliaSonera and Yoigo declined to comment.

The Swedish telecoms group scrapped plans to sell Yoigo two years ago, when it struggled to attract high enough bids. Britain’s Vodafone (VOD.L), seen at the time as a possible bidder, has since acquired Spanish cable operator Ono.

Spain’s telecoms market has recently been through a round of consolidation, with France’s Orange (ORAN.PA) also swooping on broadband operator Jazztel JAZ.MC.

A sale of Yoigo would likely fetch far less than the multi-billion-euro Ono or Jazztel deals, however. In 2013 it had been expected to go for around 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion).

($1 = 0.8962 euros)

Reporting by Sarah White; Additional reporting by Sarah Young in London and Helena Soderpalm in Stockholm; Editing by Paul Day and Mark Potter

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