31 May 2000

As part of its strategy to become a leading European and global player, France Telecom yesterday formally confirmed its acquisition from Vodafone AirTouch of British mobile phone operator Orange for £25.1bn ($37.3bn). Pipped at the post in the sale were KPN and MCI.

In a cash and share deal that creates Europe’s second largest cellular network, Orange will be integrated with France Telecom's existing mobile operations. The new business will trade under the Orange name and, as expected, Orange chief executive Hans Snook and finance director Graham Howe take the helm in the enlarged company.

European Union regulators are not expected to oppose the merger as it creates a credible competitor to Vodafone in Europe.

News source: Financial Times