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June 12, 2015updated 23 Sep 2016 3:35pm

Branson moves to conquer Spanish telecoms

Virgin may be acquiring Spanish mobile operator Yoigo.

By Alexander Sword

The British Virgin group is in early stage talks to acquire Spanish mobile operator Yoigo, according to sources.

Juan Villalonga, former Telefonica and Virgin Mobile Latin America director, is advising the talks, which could see Virgin founder Richard Branson making a move into the Spanish market.

Currently Virgin operates mobile virtual network operator services in all continents. Virgin Mobile was the world’s first MVNO when it launched in the UK in 1999 on Deutsche Telekom’s Mercury One2One network.

The deal would see Virgin acquiring infrastructure in Spain, as Yoigo owns and operates a UMTS/3G and 1800 band network.

The talks were being conducted by Branson himself, according to the report in the Spanish El Economista.

Yoigo is currently Spain’s fourth largest mobile network operator, behind Telefonica’s Movistar, Vodafone and the French Orange, with 4.4 million customers.

Swedish owner TeliaSonera tried to sell Yoigo, launched hastily due to its delay in the use of a valuable UMTS license, two years ago but failed to find a high enough bidder. Jazztel Plc was reported to be in talks over a possible offer in May 2015 after submitting a regulatory filing to the European Commission.

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