- Finland - Sweden - telecommunication
France Telecom announced Thursday a takeover offer for the Swedish-Finnish operator TeliaSonera in a bid to form the world number four telephone group, but was rejected by the Nordic operator.
Analysts said the bid was worth about 48 billion dollars (31 billion euros).
France Telecom said the deal would create a company spanning 30 countries with 237 million clients, including 168 million for mobile phones and 69 million for fixed line services.
"The combination between the two groups would create the number four worldwide telecom operator," a statement from the company said.
The offer from France Telecom was in the form of 52 percent cash and 48 percent in its shares, with the cash component pitched at 63 Swedish kronor (6.7 euros, 10.4 dollars) per share and the shares at 56.2 kronor.
France Telecom offered three newly issued France Telecom shares for 11 existing TeliaSonera shares, with a cash guarantee option for all shareholders for their first 500 shares tendered.
In a statement issued in Stockholm, TeliaSonera said its board of directors had decided unanimously to reject the proposal "as it substantially undervalues the company."
TeliaSonera has a strong presence in the Scandinavian and Baltic regions, as well as Russia, where France Telecom is not well represented.
The group was formed in 2002 by the merger of Sweden's Telia and Finland's Sonera. The Swedish state owns 37.3 percent but the government has said it intends to sell off its holding.
The Finnish state owns 13.7 percent.
France Telecom said Thursday that the proposed combined company would be a "well-balanced portfolio between developed and emerging markets."
Chairman of TeliaSonera, Tom von Weymarn, said in a statement that the group was "a strong business with excellent growth prospects in its own right."
"The indicative price of 56.2 kronor per share significantly undervalues this potential," he added.