Negotiations between telecoms giant France Telecom (FT) and Chinese vendor ZTE over the sale of Congo Chine Telecom (CCT) are near to closing, reports Bloomberg, citing people close to the matter. FT has already arranged to purchase a 49% stake in the company owned by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and is seeking to acquire the remaining 51%, currently owned ZTE. The move to gain a toehold in DRC is part of a wider strategy from FT to offset declining revenues in Europe by expanding into emerging markets in Africa and the Middle East, and extricating itself from markets in which it is not either the top, or second largest player.
In related news, Xavier Niel founder of French telco Iliad is one of the parties considering entering a bid for FT’s Swiss arm, Orange Switzerland, reports Reuters citing local paper Les Echos. The paper did not name its source, but claimed that Niel was bidding on his own behalf and not for Iliad.