France Telecom seeking to find TeliaSonera's sweet spot

Like a flyfisherman changing his patterns to see what'll raise a reluctant trout, France Telecom has begun recasting its takeover bid to TeliaSonera in an effort to discover just what it's going to take to get the reticent Nordic telco to bite.

The former French monopoly says it can raise its cash offer a bit, but doesn't have much wiggle room. It's also telling the Swedish and Finnish governments, which have stakes of 37.3 percent and 13.7 percent respectively, that they'll maintain some influence on the group, although with a newly configured ownership mix giving them stakes of just 6.5 percent and 2.5 percent respectively it's hard to see how much their opinions will count in the end. Finally, FT is floating the idea that a "northern headquarters group" could be located in Stockholm.

FT on June 5 offered Telia $40.6 billion, which Telia's board immediately rejected as being too low. Critics, meanwhile, question the financial and strategic value a takeover of Telia would bring France Telecom.

For more:
- See the Thompson Financial story in Forbes
- Or the Financial Times story