More than a dozen firms are thought to have been sent details by France Telecom (FT) regarding the forthcoming sale of Orange Switzerland, according to a Dow Jones Newswires article, which cited unnamed sources. FT has indicated that it wants the subsidiary sold by the end of the year, and has requested bidders to make their initial offers by mid-October.
Interested parties are said to include private equity firms such as Apax Partners, Bain Capital, Providence Equity Partners and Advent International, together with established telcos, including Egypt's Orascom.
FT is also said to have refused a request from CVC Capital Partners for the sale particulars because the private equity firm already controls Sunrise, Orange Switzerland's main rival, according to both Dow Jones and Bloomberg. According to Bloomberg, which also cited unnamed sources, CVC will only be allowed to bid if it ca take control of Orange Switzerland without without conditions and and if it agrees to take responsibility for getting regulatory approval of a possible merger with Sunrise.
FT is said to be unwilling to share detailed information with CVC about its Swiss subsidiary, and has worries that any sale to the private equity firm could be blocked by the local regulator. A proposed merger between Sunrise and Orange Switzerland was halted last year by the Swiss telecoms regulator on antitrust grounds.
The high level of interest has pushed the suggested sale price of €1.5 billion for Orange Switzerland up to closer to €2 billion. Sunrise was acquired by CVC last year for $3.2 billion.
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