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BT has been offered £18 billion for its fixed line telecoms infrastructure, the Sunday Times reported yesterday.

A consortium headed by German investment bank West LB made the offer two months ago.

Details of the bid are still sketchy but it's understood that negotiations are still at a very early stage.

If successful, BT would hand over the running of it phone network while maintaining control of its customer base.

Those in favour of such a split believe it would help foster competition and inject new impetus with the roll-out of broadband services.

The monster telco declined to comment on the story this morning except to say it gets approached by companies all the time.

Last week, BT ruled out an £8 billion bid for its local loop network - the last mile of copper cable that connects homes and businesses to the phone network - from Earth Lease, a consortium led by international investment bank Babcock and Brown, and US merchant bank, Chancery Lane Capital.

By mid morning BT's shares had slipped to 485p down 13.25p. ®

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