updated 12:45 pm EDT, Thu June 5, 2008
FT moves on TeliaSonera
France Telecom has entered negotiations to buy Sweden's TeliaSonera, writes the Wall Street Journal. Although no formal offer has been made, France Telecom says it has begun discussing the idea with TeliaSonera's board of directors, as well as its two biggest shareholders. A combination cash and share offer has been proposed, valued at 39 percent over TeliaSonera's share price on April 15th; when considered with its present stock value, this makes the deal worth approximately 252 billion kronor, or $42 billion.
TeliaSonera though is said to be opposed to a takeover, with chairman Tom von Weymarn saying it "substantially undervalues the company." The Swedish government is also opposed as a major shareholder, and is inviting acquisition offers from other telecom corporations. With a smaller stake, the Finnish government says it is willing to sell under the right circumstances.
If France Telecom manages to force a deal it will create the largest telecom company in Europe in terms of revenue, and a business with over 237 million customers around the world. Both companies are also coincidentally carriers of the iPhone, the former through subsidiary Orange, and the latter in a scheme which will see sales beginning "later this year."
Despite its resistance the Swedish government is said to be eager to divest itself of TeliaSonera, as it is currently controlled by a right-wing party promoting an agenda of privatization. The government has already sold 8 percent of its stake to investors.