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July 6, 2009

Deutsche Telekom wants to swap T-Mobile UK

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by David Allen

T-Mobile UK’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, is looking to swap the loss-making network for an asset in another country.

According to the Financial Times, the German telecoms giant is looking to offload its UK subsidiary and would prefer a swap to selling the unit outright or merging it with a rival UK network.

FT sources said T-Mobile will struggle to find this “dream deal” as would-be bidders are unlikely to want to part with assets, and regulators in the UK and abroad would probably oppose an asset swap.

T-Mobile is particularly interested in eastern European networks, the sources said, and may well have its sights set on Vodafone Turkey.

“There are [...] assets in central and eastern European countries that would help [Deutsche Telekom] shore up its position in markets in which it is already active,” a source told the FT.

Deutsche Telekom currently operates in 15 countries across Eastern and Central Europe, including Greece and Austria.

Vodafone and Telefónica, which owns O2, are considering bids for T-Mobile.

T-Mobile would expect a bid of at least €3 billion to consider an all-out sale, the FT’s source said.

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