France Telecom pushes TeliaSonera for deal

Despite financial analysts downgrading the likelihood of a successful conclusion, France Telecom (FT) is said to be asking TeliaSonera to accept its US$42 billion merger offer by the end of this week. The French telco has admitted to holding detailed talks with the Nordic operator and now wants the uncertainty caused by the proposed merger plans to be quickly resolved--if not it will walk away from the deal.

In an attempt to sweeten the deal, FT has hinted that it might increase the cash portion of its offer, but at the same time insisted that the margin for doing so was extremely limited. It has also suggested that it is open to discussing the location of the new company's activities--albeit unlikely that the headquarters should be anywhere but Paris, Stockholm could be in charge of Northern European countries, the Baltic states and Eurasia. Meanwhile, FT is considering plans to enter the Algerian market in 2008 either through the purchase of one of the nation's two privately-run operators or by acquiring a 3G mobile licence. The company has repeatedly attempted to enter the Algerian market but has been stymied at every turn.

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