Vodafone AirTouch looks set to proceed with a hostile takeover of Mannesmann after the German telecommunications, engineering and steel giant steel giant rejected a massive £65 billion bid at the weekend. Mannesmann released a statement earlier today, claiming that the all-paper bid undervalues the group, describing the offer as "financially unattractive [and] wholly inadequate".
Vodafone offered 43.7 shares for one Mannesmann share. Analysts said that the bid, prompted by Mannesmann's £20 billion acquisition of the UK operator Orange, was at the bottom line of most expectations.
Mannesmann stated that the bid undermines existing and planned mobile phone joint ventures with Vodaphone, commenting: "The unsolicited offer jeopardises the value and principles of our joint ventures and contractual agreements."
The Dusseldorf-based group continued: "Mannesmann does not consider a combination with Vodafone AirTouch as strategically attractive."
Vodafone's chief executive, Chris Gent, is heading for Dusseldorf for talks with Mannesmann's chairman, Klaus Esser. The UK company said only that the board "noted with regret" the rejection of its bid.
Early reports suggested Mannesmann might fend off the Vodafone bid, particularly as BT and Bell Atlantic are being touted as white knights.
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