France Telecom has Wind in sights

19th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

MILAN, Jan 19 (AFP) - France Telecom is prepared to offer EUR 6 billion (USD 7.7 billion) in cash and shares to acquire the Italian mobile telephone operator Wind, the newspaper Finanza Mercati reported here Wednesday, citing a source close to the deal.

MILAN, Jan 19 (AFP) - France Telecom is prepared to offer EUR 6 billion (USD 7.7 billion) in cash and shares to acquire the Italian mobile telephone operator Wind, the newspaper Finanza Mercati reported here Wednesday, citing a source close to the deal.

But the French group quickly issued a statement "formally denying an intention to participate in current procedures concerning Wind."

The Italian newspaper said France Telecom could propose EUR 4 billion in cash as well as an exchange of shares worth EUR 2 billion.

If the deal goes through, France Telecom would also absorb about EUR 7 billion in debt owed by Wind, bringing the total value of the offer to EUR 13.5 billion, it added.

The transaction would leave Wind's parent company, the Italian utilities group Enel, with a five to six percent stake in France Telecom, according to the newspaper.

But an industrial source said Wednesday that "Enel has received no offer from France Telecom for Wind." Enel itself had no comment on the report.

Another newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore, said an offer for Wind being prepared by the US investment fund Blackstone puts a value of EUR 12.7 billion on the Italian operator while that of a consortium led by businessman Cesare Romiti values the company at EUR 12.5-13 billion.

Wind is the leading rival to Telecom Italia on the domestic market, where it is the third largest mobile phone operator - in terms of customer number - after TIM and Vodafone.

It had sales of EUR 4.383 billion in 2003 and sustained a net loss of EUR 588 million.

France Telecom held a 26.6 percent stake in Wind until March 2003 when it sold its stake to Enel for EUR 1.5 billion.

In Paris, shares in France Telecom initially fell 0.38 percent to EUR 23.86 on the Italian press report. But they later rebounded and were up 0.92 percent at EUR 24.16 just before noon following the France Telecom denial.

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article