Outlook: Kill off this ill-conceived monstrosity
Friday 23 April 1999
Their deal, announced instead in the relative safety of London, neatly drives a man-sized wedge into the Germans' existing joint venture with France Telecom and made all yesterday's grand talk of a new European powerhouse in telecoms ring rather hollow.
But French anger is the least of the obstacles this ill-conceived "merger of equals" faces.
It is not very long ago that the two companies were overblown state-owned monopolies and indeed the German government still controls 72 per cent of Deutsche Telekom. There is scant evidence that much has changed. There is, it seems, no intention of offending the trade union nominees who will pack the supervisory board by taking the axe to the combined workforce of 300,000. Even the one billion euros in cost savings being forecast, a modest sum given their combined sales of 60bn euros, may prove a tall order to achieve.
The two sides have yet to dream up a name for this monstrosity (Euro.telecom?) but they have had plenty of fun drawing up management flow charts. The chairmanship of the 20-strong supervisory board will rotate on a buggins turn basis between a German and an Italian. More worrying is how the twin chief executives, Franco Bernabe and Ron Sommer, will co-exist. Mr Bernabe's quip that one man will ski while the other works was apparently meant as a joke but few took it as such on these Anglo-Saxon shores.
In any case, the Bernabe-Sommer double act will with luck never get to play management musical. The regulatory hurdles are daunting. The other clincher is price. Following yesterday's retreat by Deutsche shares, the merger values Telecom Italia shares at 11.77 euros compared with the 11.50 euros on offer from the rival suitor Olivetti, which has already jumped through all the regulatory hoops.
That is a derisory premium given the year of regulatory uncertainty that Telecom Italia shareholders will have to endure without any guarantee of a satisfactory outcome.
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
iJobs Money & Business
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...