9/4/2009 11:24:00 AM
Vodafone, France Telecom and Telefónica circle T-Mobile
Deutsche Telekom has begun talks with Vodafone, France Telecom, and Spain’s Telefónica about selling T-Mobile, the Financial Times reports today.
The FT says the talks are at a preliminary stage. T-Mobile has been valued at £3bn - £4bn.
A merger between T-Mobile and France Telecom's Orange, an idea floated by the French group, is understood to be on the table. If successful the deal would give France Telecom 36.4% of the UK market share.
Interested bidders have been circling T-Mobile since René Obermann, Deutsche Telekom's chief executive, decided this spring to sound out a sale of its struggling UK division.
Richard Moat, MD of T-Mobile UK since June, came in with a brief to streamline the company, a move which has prompted fears among staff that significant job cuts are on the cards.
As Mobile reported last week Connect Union has written to Moat raising concerns at the firm’s tough ‘performance management’ targets which Connect fears will lead to drastic job cuts.
The company has a market share in the UK of 14.9 per cent, according to research firm Enders Analysis, while Telefónica's O2 unit has a 27.7 per cent share, Vodafone 24.7 per cent and France Telecom's Orange 21.5 per cent.
Moat aims to lift the company from fourth to third spot in the UK market by attracting pay-as-you-go customers on to monthly contracts.
Industry experts say T-Mobile will not come cheap, despite the economic downturn. John Strand, CEO of Strand Consult, told Mobile: ‘Deutsche Telecom will want a premium price for T-Mobile from a buyer that can make synergies but if they can’t get that price they will continue the turnaround of the company and wait for a better offer.’