France Télécom takes control of Equant network

France Télécom SA assumed control of global network operator Equant NV on Friday, selling the international data networking operations of its Global One Communications Inc. subsidiary to Equant, and buying the stake in Equant owned by the SITA Foundation, the companies said in a joint statement.

The move gives France Télécom control of a combined Equant-Global One entity which had pro forma revenue of US$2.76 billion last year, the company said. Equant-Global One connects 220 countries and territories. The deals will potentially mean a greater network reach for users when the two companies' networks are combined.

In exchange for Global One's data activities, France Télécom received 80.6 million ordinary shares in Equant. It also exchanged 30.9 million France Télécom shares for the 68 million Equant shares owned by the SITA Foundation, an organization serving the aviation industry. The deals leave France Télécom with control of 54.3 percent of Equant.

Equant will gain control of the network infrastructure and operations of its joint networking venture with SITA, while in return SITA will market Equant's services to the aviation community at preferential prices.

The takeover was initially announced last November.

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