Deutsche Bank has reduced its stake in France Telecom below the key 5% level, quashing rumors the French telco could be merged with Deutsche Telekom.
The bank cut its stake to 3.25% late August, after previous off-market purchases took its total holding to 5.07% - above the 5% threshold set by French financial market regulator the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF).
Deutsche Bank cut its holding to 86 million shares on August 31, after previous purchases took its stake to 134 million shares, AMF filings reveal.
The hike in ownership and voting rights worried France Telecom staff, who own 4% of the firm and are the second-highest shareholders after the French government, which holds just under 27%.
Staff were concerned Deutsche Bank might seek to merge the carrier with rival Deutsche Telekom, in a bid to consolidate European telecoms holdings
France Telecom denied the reports yesterday, reassuring employees that it only deals with Deutsche Telekom as and when required, pointing to the merger of the pair’s UK wireless divisions as an example.