FT to buy out Equant shareholders

24 Jan 2005

France Telecom has offered EUR564 million to buy the 46% of Equant it doesn’t already own, bailing out the struggling data-communications network. The offer is worth EUR4.2 a share, about 16.7% higher than Equant’s closing share price on 21 January of EUR3.6. France Telecom will give Equant, the operator of one of the world’s biggest data communications network, a USD250 million credit line to meet its financing needs until 2006. The buyout provides Amsterdam-based Equant, which has posted losses for the past eight years, funds to survive as it faces a very ‘difficult’ year and a substantial write-down of assets, Equant said in a statement. The transaction comes a month after Equant named Charles Dehelly, 53, its new Chief Executive Officer, the second replacement in 18 months. France Telecom expects to complete the Equant purchase by the end of the first half of 2005.

France, Equant, Orange Group