According to Reuters, France Telecom has denied Austrian press reports suggesting that it is looking to buy private equity firm Mid Europa Partners’ 65% stake in Orange Austria during 4Q11. France Telecom said that there have been no discussions regarding the present ownership of Orange Austria, in which the French telecoms group holds the remaining 35% stake. Austrian daily Wirtschaftsblatt had previously reported that a deal would be struck in October, when France Telecom’s exclusivity option commences.
France Telecom and Mid Europa Partners acquired Austrian mobile operator ONE for approximately USD1.95 billion in 2007, going on to re-brand the cellco Orange Austria in September 2008, to reflect the international branding of joint owner France Telecom. According to Wirtschaftsblatt, Orange Austria is currently valued at between EUR740 million (USD1.03 billion) and EUR1.1 billion, meaning that Mid Europa’s stake would be worth between EUR481 million and EUR715 million.