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March 19, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

Despite a sturdy we don’t comment on rumor and speculation stance, a spokesman for British Telecommunications Plc had earlier hinted to Network Briefing , our sister publication, that the issue of a mooted takeover of Cable & Wireless Plc is far from resolved: while Cable & Wireless said the talks have ceased, we have not – like many such discussions, when the price tag is too high it is best to withdraw before starting again; it is said that the talks collapsed last time when Cables proposed that it make a reverse takeover of British Telecom so as to avoid the latter having to make a full bid for Hong Kong Telecommunications Ltd, and British Telecom didn’t want to give the impression it was selling out at a discount. Meanwhile, N M Rothschild & Co for British Telecommunications Plc and Ing Barings Ltd and Goldman, Sachs & Co for Cable & Wireless Plc are desperate to get the aborted merger talks between the two restarted before the latter appoints a new chief executive who will clearly have to be given the assurance that his task is to plot the future of the company as an independent entity, reported the Sunday Telegraph. Commenting on the report to Reuters, Cable & Wireless Plc denied that the bankers were trying to salvage the talks, although it clarified this by saying it had not sanctioned such talks, but there’s nothing to stop the banks talking on their own account to see if they can come up with something to put to the two; it said Our response is quite categoric… talks are not continuing it said, adding significantly at this stage; the shares added 22.5 pence to 498p before slipping.

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