France Telecom in TeliaSonera bid

France Telecom has made an informal takeover offer for TeliaSonera, valuing the Nordic telecoms company at up to 291.9 billion kronor ($48 billion), people familiar with the situation told the Financial Times.

France Telecom said it has made a “friendly” and “indicative” 63 kronor per share cash-and-stock offer for Nordic telecoms operator TeliaSonera and said if a deal is agreed, it would be EPS positive from 2009 onwards.

It said a successful deal would create a worldwide leader in convergent communications, the global number three in fixed broadband and number four in mobile.

In a statement, France Telecom said its informal bid offers is made up of 52 percent cash in euros and 48 percent shares based on an exchange ratio of 3 newly issued France Telecom shares for 11 existing TeliaSonera shares.

A cash guarantee option would be available to all shareholders for their first 500 shares tendered.

The well-flagged merger approach has been harshly criticized by analysts who complained there is little overlap between the two groups, whose core operations lie in mature Western markets.

But France Telecom insisted Thursday that the proposed combination is a “well-balanced portfolio between developed and emerging markets”.

It said the indicative proposal would represent a premium of approximately 39 percent over TeliaSonera’s closing share price on April 15 – the day before the potential deal was first rumoured in the press.

France Telecom said the potential synergies could generate operational free cash flow savings of nearly 1 percent of 2007 pro-forma revenues for the combined group by 2013, with approximately 70 percent of such savings being achieved by 2011.

It also estimated a deal would be accretive in 2011 in terms of free cash flow per share.