MUNICH (02/03/2000) - After months of fighting a takeover offer from Vodafone AirTouch PLC, Mannesmann AG today confirmed that it is holding discussions with the U.K. mobile phone carrier.
It remains open whether these talks will lead Mannesmann's Board of Directors and Supervisory Board to recommend that shareholders accept the offer, Mannesmann said in a brief statement.
The German conglomerate's chairman and chief executive officer, Klaus Esser, has consistently urged shareholders to resist Vodafone's offer since the hostile bid was launched in November, even after Vodafone once raised the offer price.
But Esser has reportedly come under increased pressure to begin friendly talks with Vodafone Chief Executive Officer Chris Gent as it starts to look more likely that shareholders are swayed by Vodafone's offer.
In its most recent bid, Vodafone offered Mannesmann shareholders 53.7 shares of Vodafone AirTouch for each Mannesmann share, a deal valued at US$125 billion by industry analysts. [See "Mannesmann Fights Vodafone Takeover," Nov. 29, 1999.]Mannesmann is a conglomerate whose businesses include engineering and automotive parts as well as telecommunications. It owns most of Mannesmann Arcor AG & Co., Germany's largest fixed-lined carrier, as well as a share in German mobile carrier Mannesmann Mobilfunk GmbH.
Mannesmann, in Düsseldorf, can be reached at +49-211-8200 or on the World Wide Web at http://www.mannesmann.de. Vodafone AirTouch, in Newbury, U.K., is at http://www.vodafone-airtouch-plc.com/.