France Télécom to Sell 5.3 Percent Stake in Telmex

STOCKHOLM (05/26/2000) - France Télécom SA plans to sell a large part of its shares in Mexican telecommunications company Teléfonos de México SA de CV (Telmex), the companies announced yesterday.

The French telecommunications company aims to sell the equivalent of 40 million Telmex American Depository Shares (ADS) in a global public offering scheduled for June that could raise US$1.9 billion in cash, based on the current price of Telmex stock, France Télécom and Telmex said in a joint statement.

The plan is subject to market conditions, however, France Télécom said. Telmex closed at $47.5 yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange, sliding 2.8 percent on the day.

France Télécom's stake in Telmex currently amounts to an equivalent of 53 million ADSs, the statement said.

The sale would improve France Télécom's cash position at a time when the company reportedly is eyeing a takeover of U.K.-based mobile telecommunications operator Orange PLC. [See "Report: France Télécom in Talks to Buy Orange," May 26.]Separately, France Télécom yesterday also announced that it has reached an agreement with Deutsche Telekom AG to acquire the German carrier's 25 percent stake in MetroHoldings Ltd., which operates metropolitan networks in several U.K. cities.

The deal will give France Télécom a 50 percent stake in the U.K. company, the company said in a statement. In return, Deutsche Telekom will acquire France Télécom's 50 percent stake in Multilink, an alternative fixed-line operator in Switzerland.

Financial terms of the two deals between Deutsche Telekom and France Télécom were not available.

France Télécom, in Paris, can be reached at +33-1-44-44-22-22 or via the Web at Deutsche Telekom, in Bonn, can be reached at +49-228-181-4949 or at Orange, in London, is at +44-1246-454-339 or at Telmex, in Mexico City, is at