The Financial Times is reporting that the finance ministers of Austria and Switzerland will meet tonight over dinner to discuss possible cooperation in assisting a merger between Swisscom and Telekom Austria. The meeting between Karl Heinz Grasser and Hans Rudolph Merz is austensibly focused on bilateral political issues, but discussions are likely to include the repeated attempts by Swisscom to buy its smaller Austrian neighbour. Swisscom’s initial approach was rebuffed on the basis of price and a second attempt to begin talks broke down at an early stage over Austrian concerns about ownership; as it stands the Swiss government owns 64% of Swisscom, leaving the possibility that a merged telco would be majority owned by the Bern administration.
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