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France Telecom to Buy 20% of Mobilcom, Reports Say
Posted: 20-Mar-2000 [Source: Bloomberg]

[The companies aren't talking, but according to this report France Telecom may buy a stake in Germany's number three long distance company.]

Frankfurt -- "France Telecom SA, Europe's second-biggest phone company, may buy a 20 percent stake in Germany's MobilCom AG, giving the French company entry into Europe's biggest market after a failed attempt last year, newspapers said.

"The companies declined to comment. France Telecom could acquire the stake as early as today for about $3.9 billion, the Wall Street Journal's Interactive edition reported, citing people familiar with the situation. A 20 percent share was worth $1.46 billion at MobilCom's price Friday. Focus, a German magazine, and the Financial Times also reported France Telecom's interest.

"Taking a stake in Germany's third-biggest long-distance phone company would come as the German government prepares to auction transmission licenses for wireless service that allow faster Internet access. A stake would also fill a hole in France Telecom's geography as it failed to enter the market last year after losing a bid to buy wireless company E-Plus Mobilfunk GmbH. ``It would be hard for MobilCom to get a UMTS license on its own because it demands a great deal of investment France Telecom could bring it the money,'' said Antoine Joly, an analyst with Aurel-Leven who has a ``buy'' rating on France Telecom shares. ``It would also offer France Telecom Internet, mobile and fixed telephony in one company.''

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