Thomson Financial reports that private equity firm Permira will sign a contract next week to sell German mobile reseller Debitel to multi-service operator Freenet for around EUR1.4 billion (USD2.2 billion) in cash and shares. The story was gleaned from Platow Brief, which cited unnamed sources. The deal will create Germany’s third-biggest mobile phone service company, after Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile and UK-owned Vodafone, with about 20 million customers, said the report. Permira will retain about 25% of the new merged entity. The private equity firm may also give Freenet a loan to pay the cash component of the sale price. Freenet still plans to sell its DSL operations to raise funds, though it is now uncertain whether the company will fetch the hoped-for price of between EUR600 million and EUR700 million. In a separate report, Manager Magazin said that Freenet is planning to close a large number of stores after buying Debitel, cutting an unspecified number of jobs.