EU: Deutsche Telekom examines possible merger with Orange

Deutsche Telekom is examining a possible tie-up with French peer Orange, German business daily Handelsblatt reported on Wednesday, November 28, citing managers close to the matter.

A spokesman for Orange said “there are no ideas or discussions going on” regarding such an initiative.

Orange and Deutsche Telekom have been talking on and off for years, although merger discussions in 2017 fizzled out because it was not feasible to put the companies on an equal footing, a source told Reuters last year.

Handelsblatt reported that Deutsche Telekom was assessing the potential of a tie-up with Orange, adding that the two companies had cooperated on purchases in the past eight years.

The German and French governments own sizeable stakes in the respective companies, making any deal politically charged. The size of Deutsche Telekom means a deal would likely mean a takeover of Orange, potentially hard for Paris to swallow.

Deutsche Telekom is Europe’s biggest telecommunications company with a market capitalisation of about €72 billion (US$79 billion), according to Refinitiv data. Paris-listed Orange is worth about €40 billion (US$44 billion).

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