Microsoft or AT&T will buy British Telecommunications (BT), according to rumours sweeping stock markets in London and New York.
The astonishing rumour added 11.5 pence to BT shares on a day that most other stock prices fell, as investors scrambled to buy just in case the rumour is true. BT still wants a US partner after its take over of MCI fell through and it may now be the target for purchase rather than the acquisitive company.
Analysts said a Microsoft deal would be unlikely but possible as the software giant has begun investing in other network providers, including cable television firms. They said a strategic alliance between the two is more likely and Microsoft may invest in BT to add weight to the deal.
AT&T is a more realistic suitor and is keen to fight off Worldcom/MCI by looking for a major European partner. Some sources claimed Bell Atlantic, another telco hoping to gain the critical mass to compete globally, may also be looking at BT.
At current prices and including a 30 per cent premium, an acquisitive company would have to pay around #47 billion for BT. Microsoft and AT&T are among the few companies that could afford it.
HP and Centrica are the first industry partners to sign up to the government's new Code
New ice grows faster but is also more vulnerable to weather and wind
With a crackdown on cheats is coming in November, PUBG rushes to fix matchmaking problems introduced in Update #22
New material uses carbon dioxide from the air to repair and reinforce itself