One2One to ring up pounds 10bn

Click to follow
The Independent Online
ONE2ONE, the British mobile phone company, is set to fetch a price of more than pounds 10bn amid intense bidding interest from a string of international companies from Deutsche Telekom to Microsoft, writes our City staff.

Merrill Lynch, advisers to One2One, are understood to have drawn up a shortlist of three bidders after the closing date for initial bid approaches last Friday.

In a surprise to the City, the group, led by managing director Tim Samples, has attracted interest from eight groups. They include Deutsche Telekom's prospective merger partner Telecom Italia, Mannesman, the German media and engineering group, and France Telecom. Deutsche's interest in the group has been kindled by the mounting number of regulatory obstacles being placed in the way of its pounds 50bn merger with Telecom Italia. US groups have also shown an interest, according to weekend reports. They include AT&T Wireless, a division of the US telecoms giant now engaged in a merger with MediaOne, joint owner of One2One.

Others reported to be interested include Ameritech, Bell South, SBC Communications and MCI WorldCom. Microsoft is only expected to bid if it can team up with a partner to avoid a clash with competition authorities.