France Telecom gets scent of Wind

28 Sep 2007

France Telecom is examining the possibility of making a bid for 20% of Egyptian-owned holding company Weather Investments, which controls Egypt’s Orascom Telecom, Italy’s Wind Telecomunicazioni and Greek sister companies Wind Hellas (formerly TIM Hellas) and Tellas (also to be rebranded under the Wind name), reports Italian daily Finanza & Mercati. Head of Weather, Naguib Sawiris, is seeking the sale of a 30% stake in the company to a private equity group, with Blackstone, Texas Pacific Group and Permira said to be interested, but potential investors have reportedly baulked at the EUR2.5 billion (USD3.5 billion) asking price. According to the Italian paper, France Telecom is interested in the stake to help it strategically reposition in Europe and gain a foothold in the Italian market.