The German telecoms operator MobilCom is looking to sell its 77-percent stake in the Internet access provider Freenet in order to raise cash to pay for its third-generation mobile phone license in Germany, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
MobilCom has asked bankers to find a buyer for the stake the newspaper reported.
MobilCom and its partner France Telecom, which holds a 28.5-percent stake in the German group, secured one of six Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) licenses in Germany last month at a cost of 8.369 billion euros.
France Telecom has an option buy a further 40 percent in MobilCom and has expressed an interest in acquiring the company's assets, which include Freenet.de, the newspaper said.
Freenet.de is the third-biggest Internet services provider (ISP) in Germany, but is still a long way behind the two leaders, T-Online and AOL.
Press reports in recent months have speculated about a possible alliance between Freenet and the French Internet portal, Wanadoo, a unit of France Telecom.
But at the end of August, Wanadoo chief Nicolas Dufourq said that a possible share swap between the two was stalled over the question of price.
According to the FT, MobilCom has said that it was under no obligation to offer right of first refusal and might approach other candidates, such as T-Online, Tiscali of Italy or Spanish firm Terra Networks.— (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
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