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THUS M&A Update

Ray Le Maistre

8:30 AM -- British network operator THUS plc (London: THUS) is attracting a lot of acquisition attention following an initial, but unwelcome, approach by Cable and Wireless plc (NYSE: CWP) in late May. (See C&W Eyes Ethernet Acquisition and C&W Details THUS Offer.)

With THUS having rejected the 165 pence-per-share offer, C&W announced a self-imposed deadline of 5 p.m. on June 30 "either to announce a firm intention to make an offer for THUS" under London Stock Exchange rules, or to walk away.

With that deadline approaching, the heat on THUS is increasing. British press reports suggest THUS hasn't been able to attract alternative offers, even though Colt Technology Services Group Ltd and Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GLBC) had been named as potential suitors.

In addition, THUS's position has been weakened by the loss to BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) of a lucrative wholesale voice contract: Investors are expected to put pressure on THUS to engage with C&W in the coming days. (See BT Wins BSKYB Deal.)

On Thursday morning, THUS's share price stood at 154 pence, still below C&W's initial offer.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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