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Macquarie close to £1.2bn wholesale TalkTalk deal

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Macquarie, the Australian banking giant, is close to a deal to acquire a significant stake in the wholesale arm of TalkTalk Telecom, one of Britain’s largest consumer broadband providers.

Sky News has learned that Macquarie could sign an exclusivity deal as early as this week which would pave the way for a deal with the company founded by Sir Charles Dunstone.

City sources said Macquarie was offering to invest £450m in PlatformX, the name given to TalkTalk’s wholesale platform, in return for a 40% stake or slightly more.

The proceeds would be used in part to pay down the company’s debt as part of a broader split, the sources added.

Other parties, including Digital Bridge, had also considered acquiring a stake in PlatformX.

TalkTalk’s commercial arm has already been sold to a syndicate of the group’s existing shareholders, while its consumer arm is expected to be put up for sale in the coming years.

A source close to the company denied a weekend report that it was in active discussions to sell the consumer division to Virgin Media O2.

The home broadband and telecommunications arm recently added nearly 500,000 customers by purchasing Shell’s former consumer business from new owner Octopus Energy.

VMO2 had previously considered a full takeover of TalkTalk, although those negotiations did not progress due to concerns over the views of competition regulators.

Macquarie and TalkTalk declined to comment.

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