Sawiris considering bid for Bouygues Telecom

6 Jun 2007

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, the chairman of Orascom Telecom and head of telecoms holding vehicle Weather Investments, says he would consider launching a takeover bid for Bouygues Telecom, France’s third largest mobile operator by subscribers. ‘We’re eager to look at Bouygues Telecom,’ Sawiris said in an interview in Athens yesterday after a presentation in which he announced the relaunch of his newly acquired Greek cellco TIM Hellas, under the branding of Weather’s Italian subsidiary Wind. According to a Bloomberg report, Sawiris said on 2 June that he was seeking acquisitions in Europe as emerging market companies become more expensive. Bouygues Telecom is a unit of Bouygues SA, the world’s second biggest construction company. Chief Executive Officer Martin Bouygues would consider selling the mobile unit for EUR12 billion (USD16.1 billion), French magazine Challenges reported on 11 April, without giving its source. While Bouygues has officially denied the unit is for sale, he would consider offers at that level, the French weekly insisted. ‘If Bouygues Telecom were for sale, we know that several buyers would be interested. Some of them have said so publicly,’ said Blandine Delafon, a spokeswoman for Bouygues, quoted by Bloomberg, who added that ‘We confirm that Bouygues Telecom is not for sale and that we are not in contact with any buyer about this matter.’ KPN, the Netherlands’ dominant telecoms operator, would investigate buying Bouygues Telecom if it were for sale, Dutch magazine Elsevier reported on 4 May, citing an interview with Chief Executive Officer Ad Scheepbouwer, according to Bloomberg.

France, Bouygues Telecom, KPN, Wind Tre