(Bloomberg) -- Liberty Global Plc and CityFibre have held exploratory discussions about potential combinations of their UK broadband networks, according to people familiar with the matter. 

The talks have also involved Nexfibre, a network-building joint venture between Virgin Media O2 and InfraVia created last year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The talks are preliminary and may not result in an agreement, they said. 

CityFibre was founded to compete against former state monopoly BT Group Plc’s network, Openreach, and the Liberty Global Plc and Telefonica SA joint venture, Virgin Media O2. Money has poured into challenger fiber optic networks, racing to win customers away from BT. A group backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. took control of CityFibre in a deal announced in 2018. 

The Telegraph newspaper reported VMO2 was exploring a bid for CityFibre earlier on Saturday. 

Representatives for Liberty Global and Virgin Media O2 declined to comment, while a representative for CityFibre didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment outside of ordinary business hours.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.