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Orange agreement close
Posted: 29-May-2000 [Source: FT]

[The combination of France Telecom and Orange would result in the formation of the world's second largest mobile phone company. An announcement is expected on Tuesday according to this report.]

By Juliana Ratner -- "France Telecom and Vodafone Airtouch are expected to announce on Tuesday that they have reached agreement on the sale of Orange to the French group in a deal that would create Europe's second largest mobile phone company.

"France Telecom intends to pay about 31bn for the UK's third largest mobile operator.

"The sale of Orange will allow Vodafone to close its purchase of Germany's Mannesmann.

"The French group, whose Itineris operation in France has 10m subscribers, last year bought 15 per cent of NTL, the UK cable company.

"The group would combine Orange, which also has stakes in Belgian, Swiss and Austrian operators, with its mobile interests in France, Denmark, the Netherlands and several other European countries.

"If the weekend's negotiations are finalised, Hans Snook, chief executive of Orange, will run the combined business. France Telecom plans to spin off between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of the mobile unit at the beginning of next year, assuming market conditions are favourable.

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