Virgin Media O2 plans fibre joint venture in broadband push - reports

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Jan 30 (Reuters) - Britain's Virgin Media O2 plans to launch a fibre network-building joint venture with owners Liberty Global (LBTYA.O) and Telefonica SA (TEF.MC), as the group aims to take on BT Group PLC (BT.L) in the high-speed broadband market, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

Telefónica and Liberty Global, who oversaw the merger of Virgin Media and O2 to create the enlarged group last year, will begin contacting potential investors this week but some informal discussions have already begun, the report said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The new company is seeking a substantial sum from third-party investors and the external capital injection could eventually total as much as 1 billion pounds ($1.34 billion), another report from Sky news said.

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Last year, the British cable and mobile provider said it would upgrade its entire network serving 15.5 million premises to full fibre by 2028. read more

Virgin Media's immediate rival BT has also set out a target of providing fibre-broadband to 25 million premises, by the end-2026.

Last year, Virgin owner Liberty Global and Spain's Telefonica agreed on a $44 billion merger. The 50:50 joint venture is being led by Virgin Media boss Lutz Schüler. read more

Virgin Media, Telefonica and Liberty Global didn't immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

($1 = 0.7465 pounds)

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Reporting by Jaiveer Singh Shekhawat in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra

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