Freenet on acquisition trail, could trigger German consolidation

If Freenet's rumoured takeover of its rival Debitel goes ahead, the new combined company would immediately become the third largest mobile operator in Germany with around 20 million customers. T-Mobile had 35 million customers in Germany and Vodafone had 34 million as of the end of 2007.

This move is seen as a much needed consolidation in a country that has a fiercely competitive and overpopulated mobile market, and would see Freenet selling off the DSL broadband business and focus solely on mobile communications.

According to the German Manager Magazine, Freenet is looking to purchase Debitel for between €1.4 billion and €1.5 billion, although industry analysts do not consider this a bargain price. However, the actual impact of a merger would largely depend on the ability of the combined company to generate synergies, which are estimated to be worth up to €100 million.

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