FT says it's shopping, but not ready to buy--yet

France Telecom is shopping, but not quite ready to buy, saying it's interested in Nordic operator TeliaSonera but hasn't even gotten to the "let's do lunch" stage. FT says it sees TeliaSonera as a potential strategic opportunity, but has decided to take some time before launching talks after watching its own stock nosedive 12 percent in the past three days.

Analysts have taken a dim view of the rumors and downgraded FT stock from buy to hold yesterday, saying they were confused by FT's direction. Today, they slammed the company's management and downgraded the stock again to sell, saying FT obviously was intending to scale up, and pointing out FT's poor track record with acquisitions. FT's last major deal was in 2000 when it bought Orange for $100 billion.

Light Reading reports FT wants to reinforce its "footprint in emerging markets, strengthen our presence in Western Europe, and acquire competencies in certain key areas."

TeliaSonera currently has a market value of nearly $38 billion.

For more:
- Check out this Light Reading article 

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