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Vodafone Pulls Trigger On 46-Day German Bid
Posted: 21-Dec-1999 [Source: Reuters/TechWeb]

[Vodafone AirTouch, the world's largest cell phone group, said on Monday it would give shareholders in Germany's Mannesmann 46 days starting Friday to accept a record hostile takeover. ]

LONDON -- "U.K.-based Vodafone, which will trigger formal hostilities by posting its 450-plus page offer document on Thursday, also said its 135 billion euro ($136.2 billion) bid is no longer conditional on European Commission clearance.

"The advice we've had is that we do not believe there will be major competitive problems other than [Mannesmann's acquisition of British cell phone group] Orange," a spokesman said. "And we've agreed that we will demerge Orange and believe that will be enough to satisfy the commission."

"In a move to reassure Mannesmann investors that its historic takeover would not fall at regulatory hurdles, the spokesman said: "It's a risk we think is worth taking."

"Vodafone has opted against keeping its bid open for a full 60 days, instead setting a closing date for its bid of Feb. 7. And it warned Mannesmann shareholders not to hold out for a higher offer, reiterating that its bid is final.

"We have set our timetable to bring our offer to a rapid conclusion so that we can move quickly to take full advantage of the opportunities available to the new group," CEO Chris Gent said.

"Gent urged Mannesmann to accept an offer to create Europe's leading telecom company in mobile voice, data, and Internet.

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