Deutsche Telekom to buy VoiceStream

Major shareholders in mobile communications operator VoiceStream Wireless are backing Deutsche Telekom AG's bid to buy the company.

DT confirmed last week it is offering 3.2 DT shares and $US30 in cash for each VoiceStream share, valuing the deal at some $US50.7 billion.

Hutchison Whampoa, which holds 22 per cent of VoiceStream and will own about 4.6 per cent of the enlarged DT, said it should gain approximately $US1.6 billion in cash and $9 billion worth of DT shares from the deal. Finland's Sonera also announced that it is accepting DT's offer and will sell its holding of some 19 million VoiceStream shares for $US3.7 billion in cash and stock. The deal will leave Sonera with a stake of approximately 1.7 per cent in DT.

Based on VoiceStream's claim of 2.29 million customers served last quarter, DT's offer amounts to more than $US22,000 per subscriber. Other recent mergers in the wireless sector, such as Vodafone AirTouch PLC's takeover of Mannesmann AG, or France Telecom SA's purchase of Orange, have been in the range of $US5,000 to $US10,000 per subscriber, analysts said.

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