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FRANCE TELECOM SALE COULD SEE UP TO 38% FLOATED IN OCTOBER

As expected, the French government has confirmed it is to privatize at least part of France Telecom. It says it will sell up to 38% of the state-owned company to outside investors, in a move estimated likely to raise around 76bn francs ($12.5bn). The amount to be offered is higher than initial predictions but still significantly lower than the 49% originally planned the previous administration. The price is to be set on October 6 with trading set to start October 20, although investors can reserve shares from September 22. Yesterday, France Telecom Chairman Michel Bon set out that, 20% of the company will be traded on the stock market with up to a further 13% of the company’s shares will be swapped with other companies. A 7.5% stake will go to Deutsche Telekom AG, its main international partner, and as expected employees will be able to buy between 3.5% and 4.5% of the company. Investors can start subscribing to the sale from Sept. 22 and offers must be confirmed October 6, Shares will start trading on the Paris and New York stock markets from Oct. 20. Some time after that date the company will decide whether to raise its capital by selling more shares. The sale will beat Italy’s planned sale of stock in Telecom Italia SpA, Europe’s fourth-biggest phone company after Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom and British Telecommunications Plc.

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CBR Staff Writer

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