France Tel agrees option to sell Sonaecom stake

PARIS Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:18pm EST

PARIS Feb 15 (Reuters) - France Telecom said it agreed on an option to sell its 20 percent minority stake in Portugal-based telecom operator Sonaecom to majority owner Sonae.

The agreement covers a period of 21 months. During the first 18 months, Sonae will have the possibility of buying the stake. Failing this, in the following three months France Telecom will be able to sell the stake to Sonae.

The price has been set at 98.9 million euros ($132 million), the French company said in a statement on Friday, adding that the price could rise to 113.5 million under certain conditions relating to the consolidation of the Portuguese telecom sector.

"This agreement secures France Telecom-Orange's stated objective of disposing of its minority shareholding in Portugal under terms that allow the group to benefit from the potential consolidation of the Portuguese telecommunications market," France Telecom said.

Portugal's Zon Multimedia and Sonaecom last month agreed to merge Zon with Sonaecom's Optimus mobile unit to create the country's second-largest telecoms firm and better compete with former monopoly Portugal Telecom.

That deal had the backing of France Telecom.

Sonae is controlled by tycoon Belmiro Azevedo. ($1 = 0.7490 euros) (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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