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France's Free drops bid for US giant T-Mobile

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France's Free drops bid for US giant T-Mobile
France's Free has dropped its bid to take control of US telecoms giant T-Mobile. Photo: AFP
08:50 CEST+02:00
French telecom giant Iliad, the parent company of Free, has announced it is dropping its bid to buy a controlling stake in US wireless carrier T-Mobile after being told its offer was too low.

French telecom operator Iliad announced Monday it was dropping its bid to buy control of T-Mobile after discussion with the US wireless carrier's majority owner Deutsche Telekom, which viewed the $15 billion (€12 billion ) offer as too low.

Iliad had made its surprise bid in late July in an effort to gain 56.6 percent of T-Mobile, the fourth-ranked cellphone operator in the United States.

The Wall Street Journal reported in August that T-Mobile refused to discuss the takeover possibility with Iliad, or even allow access to its financial information.

Sprint, the third-ranked US wireless company, abandoned a rival bid for T-Mobile in August after concluding that a tie-up would run afoul of market regulators.

In 2011, US regulators blocked AT&T's effort to buy T-Mobile, saying it would be harmful to consumers and competition.

Iliad is owned by a billionaire, Xavier Niel, and is the parent company of Free, a French telecom unit offering phone services, Internet access and television.

T-Mobile's share price fell nearly four percent in early afternoon trading in New York after Iliad's statement, before recovering slightly to $27. Iliad's share price slid 1.8 percent on Thursday to close at €156.15 in Paris.

Deutsche Telekom has been looking to sell off T-Mobile for years, but its management is divided on the strategic interest of shedding what is one of the group's main growth centres.

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