PARIS, July 25 (Reuters) - France Telecom is keen to get back on the acquisition trail in Europe but has ruled out a merger with German rival Deutsche Telekom, its chief executive said in an interview published in the Financial Times website on Wednesday.
“I am not saying that we are going to buy everything, of course, but we will see and follow closely the situation in the big European markets where we are,” Stephane Richard said.
Nordic telecoms group Teliasonera is looking to sell its Spanish mobile operator Yoigo in a 1 billion plus euro deal that could attract telecom tycoon Carlos Slim, Vodafone and France Telecom as bidders.
Richard quashed talk of a merger with Deutsche Telekom, its partner in a number of joint ventures, including Everything Everywhere, Britain’s biggest mobile phone operator.
He also damped talk of a disposal of its stake in the venture, saying France Telecom was not a seller and had not held discussions with private equity.
Richard said it “could be an option” to buy the Deutsche Telekom stake, but added “As far as I know they are not sellers themselves.”
Analysts have suggested that Deutsche Telekom may have to exit the lucrative joint venture one day to protect its dividend and strengthen its fixed and mobile business in Germany.
France Telecom was not immediately available to comment. (Reporting by Elena Berton; Editing by Gary Hill)