The chief executive of AOL France, Carlo d’Asaro, has said his company is not for sale, after the country’s second largest fixed line operator neuf Cegetel expressed an interest in acquiring it. AOL, a unit of Time Warner, said earlier on Wednesday that it was reviewing options for its European operations, including the full or partial sale of its internet access businesses in order to concentrate on delivering internet services and content. Mr d’Asaro is reported to have told Reuters, ‘We are staying in France and have no intention of leaving the French or European market.’ He added that AOL Europe was actively looking for partnerships in internet access and has been working with advisors Citigroup for months to secure such a deal.
neuf Cegetel is preparing itself for a Paris flotation, possibly as early as this autumn. It has confirmed it is interested in acquiring AOL France, one of its top three customers in terms of renting capacity on its network. An unconfirmed source said neuf was keen to retain AOL as a customer ahead of its market debut. Other companies said to be in the hunt for AOL France nclude Deutsche Telekom’s Club Internet unit, and Iliad (Free), the country’s number two consumer broadband provider.