Texas Pacific invests in MobilCom

The US firm has paid €265 million for the majority of France Telecom’s stake in the German mobile phone operator.

France Telecom has announced that it is selling a 27.3 percent stake in MobilCom, the German mobile phone operator, to Texas Pacific Group for a price of €265 million ($341 million).
 
A spokesman for TPG told Reuters that the firm had no plans to buy more MobilCom shares, thus avoiding triggering the German law which would require them to make an offer to buyout all shareholders if their stake rose above 30 percent.
 
The sale represents a significant loss for France Telecom, which will retain a 1 percent share in MobilCom. The company paid €3.74 billion for its stake during the 2000 telecoms bubble, but soon found itself in conflict with MobilCom founder Gerhard Schmid and forced to take on €7.3 billion of the German company’s debt.
 
On April 22 MobilCom shareholders voted, against the advice of management, to sue France Telecom for breaking pledges to fund the roll-out of third-generation mobile services.
 
Texas Pacific said in a statement that it supported MobilCom’s plan to re-integrate its fixed-line and internet subsidiary freenet.de, thus saving the company up to €500 million in taxes.
 
Shares in MobilCom, which are traded in Frankfurt, were valued at around €15.3 for much of Monday. Following the announcement, when the market opened on Tuesday, they were valued at around €16.9, and have since climbed to €17.2.