M&A Rash

1:00 PM -- Step away from the Old Continent for two minutes and you'll miss a European carrier announcing an acquisition or merger.

This week is no exception. While EuroBlog was in wonderful Chicago attending the show that most folk still call Supercomm, there was a little flurry of deals. (See NXTcomm Slideshow, Part I and Carriers Surf the Web 2.0 Wave.)

The main move was by Orange (NYSE: FTE), which has joined up with Mid Europa Partners to take control of mobile operator Connect Austria (One) , where France Telecom already has a 17.45 percent stake.

The €1.4 billion (US$1.88 billion) deal ups FT's stake to 35 percent, and enables it to introduce the Orange brand into Austria, while its partner holds 65 percent. (See FT Gets One.)

The other news involves a small acquisition by, and some exploratory talks involving, the Portuguese operator Sonaecom , and a specialized purchase by Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM). (See Sonaecom Buys Minnow, Sonaecom, Tele2 in Talks, and Swisscom Buys Firm.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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