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Cable and Wireless sets Thus deadline

07 июня 2008

Cable and Wireless has given the board of Thus until the end of the month before it walks away from a 165p-a-share offer for the alternative network provider.

Thus has rejected C&W’s approach, saying that it denies shareholders a portion of any synergy benefits.

Thus has held only one meeting and three telephone calls with C&W since its initial approach on May 28.

C&W said it was “disappointed” Thus had not entered into discussions.

It also emphasised that any bid would not distract it from its “existing timetable to consider value realisation options in 2008/09”, a reference to its plans to demerge the Europe, Asia and US business from the international division.

The Thus statement revealed that a letter sent from Richard Lapthorne, C&W’s chairman, said he was seeking agreement “within the narrow price band which our respective shareholders would understand and consider sensible”.

Analysts said a higher offer was likely to be forthcoming before the self-imposed deadline of 5pm on June 30. But C&W management is unwilling to overpay for Thus lest it harm the share price, which is directly related to its long-term incentive plan.

One analyst said that, while the synergies could justify a bid of up to 200p, a price one shareholder has said it would like to see, C&W “won’t want to pay more than 175p”.

Shares in Thus rose 1p to 158p, while C&W fell 4p to 164p.

C&W holds about 16 per cent of the UK business telecoms market, compared with BT’s 65 per cent share. An acquisition of Thus would expand its customer base within large businesses and the public sector.

Источник: Financial Times

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