FT confirms Amena interest

21 Jul 2005

France Télécom has confirmed that is interested in entering a bid for the Spanish mobile operator Amena, with reports suggesting that an offer of at least EUR10 billion is likely. The Financial Times says the French firm is expected to make an offer comprising cash and shares, although shareholders of Amena’s parent company Auna Group are thought to favour a cash-only bid.

Meanwhile, France Télécom’s competition for Amena has been reduced from three to two bidders with the news that the New York-based private equity firm KKR has dropped out of the race. KKR was part of a consortium which hoped to acquire the entire Auna group, including Amena. France Télécom now faces competition from just one group, a consortium comprising investment firms Providence, Blackstone and Carlyle, although there is a chance that the two groups could join forces to make a joint bid. The French company previously worked with Providence and Blackstone on an unsuccessful bid to purchase a stake in the Czech operator Cesky Telecom. Auna’s fixed line division has also had two offers – one from the Providence/Blackstone/Carlyle consortium and the other from Spanish cable operator Ono.