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Deutsche Telekom bidding for UK cellular outfit?

The German behemoth is in spend, spend, spend mode

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One2One, the struggling number four UK cellular network operator, is the subject of a £10 billion takeover bid by Deutsche Telekom, according to Sunday Business. Could it be that Deutsche Telekom suspects its planned merger with Telecom Italia will not go through, so it is seeking a consolation prize? The Telecom Italia deal has been handled in a ham-fisted way by the Germans, but at least the roadshow intended to convince shareholders that there was merit in it kicked off in Milan rather than in Germany. Meanwhile, Olivetti is pushing its own bid via newspaper advertisements. Probably DT subscribers would rather DT reduced its high charges. One2One owner Cable & Wireless wants rid of the subsidiary. Earlier this year, C&W and partner MediaOne (the International part of Baby Bell US West, was believed to be considering the possibility of an $8 billion IPO for One2One. This would have made it possible for C&W to bid for new-generation cellular licences. It was thought at the time that C&W would concentrate on carrying data. If the story is true -- and C&W isn't commenting -- it is likely that there will be rival bidders, such as Bell Atlantic, Mannesmann, France Telecom, or even Microsoft. ®

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