Netherlands-based telco Versatel [LSE: VERSq.L] announced today that its German division Versatel Deutschland Holding has reached an agreement with holding company the Arques Group to merge its operations with two of Arques’ subsidiaries. Under the terms of the agreement, which is expected to be finalised before the second half of the year, Versatel will acquire the outstanding stock in German telco Tesion Telekommunikation and its own wholly-owned company Completel, while the Arques Group will gain a 15% stake in Versatel Deutschland. Boasting a joint customer base of over 80,000 at the end of 2002, Tesion and Completel operate a 4,400km pan-German backbone network, a 3,600km regional network in Baden-Wuttemberg and a 1,100km local access fibre network in the major cities of Germany; Versatel hopes the merger will enable it to widen its reach in the country and become a major player in the wireline market. As well as selling a 15% stake in Versatel Deutschland to the Arques Group, Versatel expects to pay around EUR14.5 million in cash for the acquisition. It says its business plan is fully funded and it will not need third-party financing.