France Télécom (FT) is rumoured to be exploring the possibility of going after several major international acquisitions, including Spanish mobile operator Amena and Indian telco Reliance, as part of a wider plan to plug holes in its global strategy. Despite the French telco’s EUR49 billion debt pile and a previous stated pledge to stick a EUR500 million limit on acquisitions, a source at a leading French bank says FT is considering a bid for unlisted Amena, which could be made for less than EUR10 billion. Given FT’s plans to re-brand using its Orange mobile brand name and its own lack of presence in the Spanish wireless sector, the possibility of FT’s interest in Amena has some credibility. But any deal to purchase the cellco would meet stiff resistance from institutional shareholders concerned at the state-backed operator’s debt position.
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