Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom plan to create a new mobile champion
Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom today announce that they have entered into exclusive negotiations to combine T-Mobile UK and Orange UK in a new 50:50 joint venture company.
The new joint venture will create the UK's leading mobile operator. It will have a combined mobile customer base of around 28.4 million, representing approximately 37 percent of UK mobile subscribers, based on figures at end December 2008 (customer figures for T-Mobile UK excluding Virgin Mobile customers). By integrating Orange's broadband activities, the joint venture will also have the capabilities to offer convergent solutions to its customers in the future. The business will have pro forma 2008 revenues of approximately € 9.4 billion (£7.7 billion) and EBITDA of € 2.1 billion (£1.7 billion) (Exchange rate for pro forma figures based on average exchange ratio 2008 of €1.25/£. All other financials based on actual exchange ratio of €1.14/£).
The merger and integration of T-Mobile UK with Orange UK should generate estimated synergies with a net present value in excess of €4.0 billion (£3.5 billion).
Estimated opex-based synergies should reach an annual run rate of over £445 million from 2014 onwards.
To achieve these opex synergies, the joint venture would expect to invest £600 to £800 million in integration costs over the period from 2010 to 2014. Those costs would primarily relate to the decommissioning of mobile sites, the rationalisation of the network of retail stores and the streamlining of operations.
On the capex side, large scale savings are expected over the first five years following completion of the transaction, resulting from the integration and unification of the networks and from jointly expanding 3G coverage. The potential for capital expenditure savings, net of integration capex, is estimated at £620 million on a cumulative basis over 2010-2014, prior to stabilising at approximately £100 million a year from 2015 onwards.
To create the new joint venture, Deutsche Telekom would contribute T-Mobile UK on a cash-free, debt-free basis, including T-Mobile UK's 50 percent holding in its 3G network joint venture with Hutchison and gross tax losses carried forward of at least £1.5 billion. France Telecom would contribute the whole of Orange UK including £1.25 billion of intra-group net debt in order to equalize the value of the contributions to the joint venture. Immediately after closing Deutsche Telekom would grant a £625 million shareholder loan to the joint venture, which would be used to simultaneously reimburse £625 million to France Telecom. As a result, the joint venture would have indebtedness of £1.25 billion, represented by two shareholder loans of £625 million held by each of Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom.
This transaction is expected to create substantial value for both shareholders and to be accretive from 2010 in terms of free cash-flow per share and from 2011 in terms of earnings per share. Both Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom would recognise their respective interest in the joint venture using the equity method after closing. It is planned that the joint venture will distribute 90 percent of its free cash flow to its two shareholders.
Prior to the signing, which is expected to be end of October, both Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom will undertake confirmatory due diligence and will complete the definitive documentation. The final agreement is subject to the approval of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Telekom and the Board of Directors of France Telecom, and the completion of an agreed transaction would be conditional on approval by the relevant competition authorities.
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