[MarketWatch] A deal has been struck to merge the U.K. mobile phone operations of Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, according to published reports.
T-Mobile UK, the unit of Deutsche Telekom, will be merged into the operations of Orange in the U.K., multiple reports said, citing people familiar with the matter.
France Telecom, which holds Orange, fought off rival interest from Vodafone Group and Telefonica.
The deal will be announced Tuesday morning before the market opens, the report added.
Deutsche Telekom shares underperformed the broader market after the reports, up just 0.1%. A joint venture would remove the possibility that Deutsche Telekom would sell the division.
France Telecom rose 1.9% in Paris trade.
The U.K. market is a fiercely competitive one, led by Telefonica's O2 that includes Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and 3 from Hutchison Whampoa.
Deutsche Telekom wrote down the value of T-Mobile U.K. in the first quarter, and that division's operating profit fell 13.5% in the second quarter. See full story.
T-Mobile U.K. has been widely considered on the block since Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann in May stressed the need for consolidation in Europe and said that "nothing was unthinkable" regarding the business
U.K. deal reached for T-Mobile: report