Pan-European telecoms service provider Tele2 has offered EUR1.34 billion to buy Netherlands-based Versatel, in a bid to add the Benelux countries to its continental footprint. The Dutch telco is the second largest operator in the Netherlands: with its Belgium operation it has a combined customer base of more than 2.6 million residential users. Tele2 is expanding its global footprint to offset saturation in its Nordic market, which is damaging pricing and providing little scope for future growth. In February it acquired Tiscali’s Danish unit to add internet users to its customer base and it has also purchased assets in Russia (Votec Mobile, December 2004) and the UK (Alpha Telecom, February 2004). Versatel’s board has recommended shareholders to accept the offer, and those owning 42% of Versatel’s stock have agreed to tender their holdings in the transaction.
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