France Telecom to sell Orange Switzerland to Apax Partners for EUR 1.6 billion

French telecom giant France Telecom has decided to sell
its 100 percent equity stake in Swiss unit, Orange Switzerland, to private
equity firm Apax Partners, for EUR1.6 billion.

This is part of a strategic review to lead its business
back to sustained growth in a struggling industry.

The parties agreed
on an enterprise value of CHF2.0 billion ( EURO 1.6 billion), corresponding to
a multiple of 6.5x Orange Switzerland’s estimated 2011 EBITDA.

France Telecom earlier this year launched a strategic review of all of its
businesses and, in July, disclosed it would seek to sell the Swiss unit. It had
received five offers for Orange Switzerland by the deadline Dec. 12 and said it
hoped to select a preferred bidder at the beginning of next year.

Created in 1999, Orange Switzerland recorded revenue of
EUR1.1 billion in 2010, employs about 1200 people, and had 1.6 million
customers in September 2011, said France Telecom in a statement.

“This transaction, once completed will mark a major
step in the optimization strategy of France Telecom-Orange asset portfolio,
announced in May 2011,” said the company in a statement.

The sale will need to be approved by relevant authorities
in Switzerland, and France Telecom’s board of directors in the second week of
January 2012, said the company.

Upon completion, this transaction will constitute a
significant step in the optimization of France Telecom’s assets portfolio
announced in May 2011.

By Team
[email protected]