CWC, France Telecom Confirm NTL Talks

British cable and telecommunications operator Cable & Wireless Communications PLC (CWC) today issued a short statement confirming that it is in discussions with its cable competitor, NTL Inc., concerning the transfer of various businesses from CWC.

France Telecom SA also confirmed in a short press statement that it is involved in talks with NTL to take a minority stake in the British telecommunications firm "in order to facilitate the consolidation of the U.K. cable operators market." A France Telecom spokeswoman said that France Telecom would likely have more news either later today or tomorrow.

Reports that France Telecom will take a minority stake in NTL and that NTL will then buy CWC have been published in many U.K. papers, including today's Financial Times. According to that story, France Telecom's funding of NTL will allow it to launch an 8 billion pound (US$12.4 billion) bid for the residential cable business of CWC.

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