France Telecom (FT) is considering bidding for Sweden’s TeliaSonera to create Europe’s third-largest telecoms firm, says French daily Le Figaro. A deal could be worth at least USD54bn, although an insider says the price tag may be between USD31.8bn and USD35bn. The French government, which owns 27% of FT, says it would express its view on any potential bid in due time.
The rumours sent FT shares plummeting by more than 5% on the Paris stock exchange, while TeliaSonera’s rose 10% on OMX. A takeover could reduce France’s stake in FT, while the Swedish and Finnish governments, which own 37.3% and 17.3% of TeliaSonera respectively, could join the company’s board, says Le Figaro. Sweden has said it wants to sell shares in the carrier.
Buying Sweden’s largest telco would be FT’s biggest deal since buying Orange in 2000, for USD55bn. It would create a giant with annual sales of USD100bn, surpassing Deutsche Telekom but still behind Telefonica and Vodafone. It would also give FT access to TeliaSonera’s 115m customers including those in Scandinavia and Turkey.