Japan?s national telecoms carrier NTT is reported to be seeking its first European acquisition since it won permission from the country?s authorities to offer international services last month.
The company is looking to acquire a 10 per cent share in Cegetel, the French telecomms operator set up to compete with France Telecom. BT is already buying a 25 per cent stake in Cegetel for #1.1 billion and has been wooing NTT to give it much needed presence in the Far East.
Reports of a Cegetel stake by NTT come within a week of visits made by the respective chairmen of BT and MCI to Japan. They are understood to have met with NTT officials. Peter Bonfield, BT?s chief executive, is also understood to be in Japan this week.
An acquisition by NTT will cement its commitment to offer global services plus add an amount of commonality with BT and MCI. Currently it is an ?observing? member of World Partners, a loose grouping of suppliers including AT&T/Unisource.
Cegetel was set up by French utility Compagnie Generaux des Eaux. It had been a member of the AT&T/Unisource collaboration but broke it off in October to join the BT/MCI camp.
Robin Bosworth, a partner with telecomms consultancy, Schema said: ?This could be the first in a series of investments into European companies by Far Eastern operators. They all need to build up a portfolio of interest in Europe and north America. Also a stake in Cegetel by NTT would bring it synergy with BT,? he said.
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