France Télécom confirms interest in TeliaSonera
The French telecommunications operator France Télécom has very likely already been in contact with the principal owners of TeliaSonera in order to commence takeover negotiations.
Tom von Weymarn, the Chairman of the TeliaSonera Board, still refuses to admit or deny whether the company has been contacted by the French.
On Thursday Gervais Pellissier, Executive SVP for Group Finance and Spanish Operations at France Télécom, said in a Financial Times interview that the company is “in the early stages of examining a takeover bid for TeliaSonera.”
“If France Télécom comes in with a bid, we'll consider it from all owners' best interests”, says von Weymarn.
A France Télécom source interviewed by the French daily La Tribune offered a reminder of the company’s CEO Didier Lombard’s speech in connection with a February result review. Lombard hinted then that the company “was seeking growth in emerging markets”.
Potential growth France Télécom might find from TeliaSonera’s lucrative business operations in the east.
According to the paper, the French operator will find it difficult to remain passive with its corporate acquisition arrangements. It cannot afford to remain an onlooker while its European rivals approach each other.
As examples La Tribune mentions the Spanish Telefonica, which became a part owner of Telecom Italia and the German Deutsche Telekom, which is hankering after a 20-per cent stake of the Greek operator OTE.
TeliaSonera’s largest owners, the Swedish and Finnish governments, have refused to comment on the interest showed by France Télécom.
One consideration is that the French company's owners are less than enthusiastic about the idea: France Télécom's shares shed a further 5% on Thursday.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Rumours of France Télécom interest in TeliaSonera send stock soaring (17.4.2008)
“France Telecom tests the ground for a TeliaSonera takeover offer”, Financial Times, 17.4.2008