Equant NV, the data services provider owned by France Telecom SA, has agreed to sell its 49% stake in New York-based Radianz to fellow shareholder Reuters Group Plc. In turn, Reuters has confirmed that it intends to sell the entire unit to the former UK telecoms incumbent, BT Group Plc, as part of a long-term network services agreement.
Under the terms of the deal, Reuters has agreed to buy the 49% of Radianz owned by Amsterdam, Netherlands-based Equant for $110 millio in cash. The deal is expected to complete by the end of the year.
Reuters is then apparently willing to sell the entire Radianz unit to BT for more than 100 million pounds ($183 million), a figure quoted in the Financial Times.
Officially, Reuters already holds a 51% stake in Radianz, but will treat the newly acquired 49% stake as an asset held for resale. It is in exclusive discussions with BT to secure a long-term agreement for the provision of network services. This would involve the sale of Radianz to BT.
According to Reuters, the deal with BT is subject to due diligence, regulatory approvals and the negotiation of definitive agreements. The deal with BT is expected to close during the first quarter of 2005.
Reuters CEO Tom Glocer said in a statement, As part of BT, Radianz would continue to be our preferred network communications supplier. By combining Radianz with BT, Reuters and our customers would benefit from a greater range of high quality networking options, providing increased flexibility and enabling cost efficiencies.
Reuters has been selling non-core assets to focus on its main business of providing news and data to the investment community. It has offloaded most of its holdings in software developer Tibco Software Inc.