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One-2-One up for use as collateral by C&W

Bank loans worth £3.8bn to be secured by mobile company

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Cable & Wireless will put up its 50 per cent stake in One-2-One as collateral to fuel network expansion. Britain's smallest mobile phone company will be used to secure £3.8 billion in bank loans, according to CBS MarketWatch. The half holding in One-2-One will go to a new funding company set up as a joint venture with investment bank Merrill Lynch. It will fund the acquisition through loans from five top banks. This unconventional financing technique will give Cable & Wireless cash up front. It said the money would be used for acquisitions and investment in its networks. The company has paid £200 million for a call option to buy back the stake at any time over the next 12 months. In a statement, Cable & Wirless said it was: "Ensuring enhanced short-term financial flexibility pending progress on a number of current and potential transactions." One-2-One has been up for sale since March. It currently controls 15 per cent of the UK mobile phone market. Likely buyers include Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Mannesmann and Vivendi. ®

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