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Vodafone 'may need E60bn cash'
Posted: 05-Jan-2000 [Source: Financial Times]

[Klaus Esser, chairman of Mannesman, warns that "unheard of" sums in cash may be needed for Vodafone's takeover. "He also highlighted differences in strategy between the two groups, such as Mannesmann's focus on developing the next generation of internet-by-mobile services.", according to this report.]

By Ralph Atkins in Berlin -- "Klaus Esser, chairman of Mannesmann, has warned that Vodafone AirTouch of the UK could have to pay "unheard of" sums in cash to Mannesmann minority shareholders to take full control of the German telecoms group.

"If Vodafone claimed victory in the hostile E130bn takeover battle for Mannesmann with just over 50 per cent of the shares, it might have to find as much as E60bn in cash to buy out remaining shareholders, Mr Esser suggested in an interview with the Financial Times.

"Such a cash offer might be necessary if it wanted to secure a "domination agreement" giving formal control over the management.

"This amount could only be raised by selling "crown jewels" in the new telecoms group. But Mr Esser contended: "We don't have any dogs in our portfolio that you would want to sell."

"In Cape Town, at the cricket Test match between England and South Africa, Chris Gent, Vodafone's chief executive, said that if Vodafone won control of Mannesmann, the UK group would extend the takeover offer by five days to enable the remaining Mannesmann shareholders to change their minds. But there would be no change in the offer to entice them to sell out.

"Mr Esser was speaking as the German group works on its defence document, due by January 14. The deadline set by the Frankfurt takeover commission is a week later than expected because of the Christmas holidays.

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