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France Telecom borrows 20bn for Orange bid
Posted: 24-May-2000 [Source: FT]

[Vodafone is ready to demerge Orange and France Telecom hopes to be the winner.]

By Juliana Ratner and Dan Roberts -- "France Telecom has arranged a 20bn loan with bankers which it hopes to use towards making an offer for British mobile phone operator Orange. The French group is now in negotiations with Vodafone regarding a potential cash and shares bid for Orange worth between E45bn and E50bn (27bn-30bn)

"A consortium of banks led by Citibank is believed to have finalised the terms of the loan on Tuesday night - paving the way for a formal proposal to Vodafone as early as this week.

"Any such offer is likely to spark a fierce bidding war for control of the UK's third largest mobile operator, which Vodafone inherited following its hostile takeover of Mannesmann last year. Dutch telecom group KPN is also believed to be interested and recently agreed to an investment by Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo which many believed was the prelude to a joint bid for Orange.

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