• Sweden edition
 

France Telecom mulls higher cash bid for TeliaSonera

Published: 19 Jun 2008 14:59 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Jun 2008 14:59 GMT+02:00

France Telecom said on Thursday it had opened talks about whether to enter formal negotiations with TeliaSonera and could sweeten its indicative $41 billion bid for the

Swedish-Finnish group.

The talks about talks were disclosed by Finance Director Gervais Pellissier in a meeting of investors in Lisbon and confirmed by a company spokesman.

Pellissier told investors France Telecom may be willing to increase the cash portion of its offer but insisted the margin for doing so is "extremely limited," the spokesman said.

France Telecom shares fell around 2.4 percent, while TeliaSonera shares fell 3.1 percent.

Pellissier's comments came after sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday that France Telecom was hoping TeliaSonera's investors would persuade it to enter talks.

Telia's shareholders want a higher bid and some have told France Telecom and its advisers they favour TeliaSonera entering talks with its French suitor to try and negotiate a higher bid rather than turning away the approach, the sources said.

France Telecom is willing to remain in the exploratory talks for a reasonable period of time but is also ready to walk away from the deal, the spokesman quoted Pellissier as saying on Thursday.

He ruled out changing the share component of the deal.

Pellissier told the investor conference that contacts with TeliaSonera had taken place to "study the conditions under which formal negotiations can take place," the spokesman said.

Pellissier said the current situation "should not extend beyond a reasonable period of time".

France Telecom had given TeliaSonera two weeks until this weekend to enter discussions.

"Either TeliaSonera agrees to have a proper dialogue on the offer or France Telecom will walk away," said one of the sources on Wednesday. "They will not bid against themselves."

France Telecom announced its indicative takeover offer on June 5 and said it aimed for a "friendly" deal but would not change the indicative cash-and-shares offer.

Such a move -- announcing the terms of a bid without fully launching it, in the hope that a target company's board will be pressured into talks -- is known as a bear-hug.

It is a way of avoiding the additional cost and risk of failure associated with a full-blown hostile offer.

TeliaSonera's board and the Swedish government, which owns more than 37 percent of the company, have rejected France Telecom's offer as too low, prompting the French company on June 7th to set a deadline of 15 days for the sides to start talks.

Additional cash in the offer could help offset a fall in France Telecom's share price -- lowering the value of the bid -- since it announced the indicative bid earlier this month.

In a newspaper interview on June 7th, France Telecom Chief Financial Officer Gervais Pellissier said the French firm could drop its offer either if its own share price continued to fall or if the bid was not accepted as friendly.

AFX

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Police probe after Easter ferry smash
A coastguard vessel involved in the rescue operation. Photo: TT

Police probe after Easter ferry smash

Stockholm police are investigating criminal negligence in connection with a crash involving a small taxi vessel and a giant Finland-bound ferry on Friday which left three people needing rescue from the icy waters of Stockholm's archipelago. READ () »

Ikea to introduce 'green' vegetarian meatballs

Ikea to introduce 'green' vegetarian meatballs

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is planning to put vegetarian meatballs on the menu in an attempt to cut down on its carbon footprint, the company has announced. READ () »

Students to keep paying off debt beyond 67

Students to keep paying off debt beyond 67

The Swedish government has proposed scrapping the 25-year span for repaying student loans, by suggesting those who attend higher education should keep paying the money back well into retirement. READ () »

Drowned puppies found in crayfish cage
The crayfish cage in the picture is not the one mentioned in the story. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Drowned puppies found in crayfish cage

Police in eastern Sweden have launched a preliminary investigation of animal cruelty after two puppies were found drowned in a crayfish cage. READ () »

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat
Rickard Rundgren Björk of the coastguard services speaks to the media after the rescue operation on April 19th 2014. Photo: Maja Suslin /TT

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat

Three Saturday morning sailors had a lucky escape after their small boat collided and sank after it crashed into a cruise ship whilst sailing in the Stockholm archipelago. READ () »

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK
Sofie Marie Jansson. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK

British police have found the missing Swedish girl Sofie Jansson in London, exactly a week after she was last seen, with authorities saying she is doing well. READ () »

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Sweden's opposition party has stepped up its efforts to secure the pensioner vote by pledging to lower taxes for the elderly and make higher earners pay more. READ () »

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend
Showan Shattak pictured in Malmö before his attack. Photo: Facebook

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend

The 25-year-old man, whose stabbing by neo-Nazis sparked mass demonstrations across Sweden, has made a strong recovery in hospital and took to social media to thank supporters for campaigning against fascism. READ () »

Police seeking missing Swede in London

British police have issued a plea for tips in the search to find Swedish national Sofie Marie Jansson who hasn't been seen for almost a week. READ () »

University applications rocket to record high

University applications rocket to record high

Swedish universities continue to draw vast amounts of applicants with the number of prospective students seeking a third level education increasing for the seventh year in a row. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
Advertisement:
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

722
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com