Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-Shing's Hutchison Whampoa said Friday it is in "exclusive negotiations" to buy mobile phone giant O2 for up to $15.4 billion, in a deal that would create Britain's biggest mobile phone group.
Hutchison confirmed in a statement that it was in talks to buy the company from Spanish company Telefonica for £9.25 billion, with a deferred further payment of up to £1 billion after completion of the deal.
It added that the deal was still subject to due diligence and regulatory approvals.
"The negotiations may or may not result in any transaction," the statement said.
Shares in Hutchison had been suspended Friday morning as reports swirled of a deal and were up three percent by 0500 GMT.
Hutchison already owns the Britain's Three mobile phone network and the purchase of O2 would create the country's largest mobile company, the Financial Times said.
The move comes soon after Hong Kong investment icon Li announced a major revamp of his vast business empire.