France Telecom, Teliasonera in talks on deal: report

France Telecom Finance Director Gervais Pelissier delivers his speech during the annual combined shareholders meeting in Paris, May 27, 2008. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - France Telecom and TeliaSonera were in talks late on Sunday about a takeover deal, after France Telecom indicated it would sweeten its bid, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website, citing people familiar with the matter.

The discussions could lead to an agreement or fall apart at any moment, the Wall Street Journal reported one person saying. France Telecom has set an informal deadline of Monday to reach a deal with the Scandinavian telecoms group or walk away, the paper said.

France Telecom unveiled on June 5 an indicative cash-and-share bid currently worth $41 billion for the Nordic group. TeliaSonera’s chairman immediately rejected the offer.

Two weeks later France Telecom said it might be willing to increase the cash portion, although it had “extremely limited” room to do so.

French daily Le Figaro reported earlier that France Telecom’s offer should be settled in the next day or two, possibly with a small improvement on the cash side.

In an extract from an article in Monday’s edition, released ahead of publication, Le Figaro said the situation would “take a decisive turn” on Monday or Tuesday.

Reporting by Megan Davies; Editing by Braden Reddall