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France Telecom Exercises Option to Sell Stake in Portuguese Mobile Network

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France Telecom Orange has agreed to sell its 20% stake in the Portuguese mobile network operator, Sonaecom (which trades as Optimus) for up to EUR113.5 million.

The French company exercised an option that compelled  Sonaecom's 53.2% shareholder, Sonae to buy its 20% holding in the telecoms network.

The call is exercisable by Sonae over the next 18 months and the put will be exercisable by France Telecom during the 3 months following this initial period. They are both exercisable at the same price of EUR98.9 million. The price could be increased to EUR113.5 million if Sonaecom participates in a material transaction (involving Sonaecom or its material assets) that consolidates or restructures the Portuguese telecommunications sector in the 24 months following the signature of the agreement.

This agreement is subject to the confirmation of the Portuguese Securities Commission (CMVM) that no concerted exercise of influence results from this agreement.

Sonaecom is the smallest mobile network in the country, but back in 2006, it launched an audacious EUR11.1 billion hostile takeover bid for the vastly larger Portugal Telecom. Opposed by the board of directors, the bid eventually failed in early 2007.

France Telecom said that the sale completes its stated objective of disposing of its minority shareholding in Portugal under terms that allow the Group to benefit from the potential consolidation of the Portuguese telecommunications market.

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Tags: sonaecom  Portugal