Orange makes $4.4B takeover bid for Spain’s Jazztel

The French telecoms giant Orange is set to offer €3.4 billion ($4.4 billion) for the Spanish fixed-line broadband and TV supplier Jazztel, it said on Tuesday.

The “friendly voluntary cash tender offer” would give Jazztel’s shareholders €13 per share. As confirmed in a Jazztel statement, leading shareholder and [company]Jazztel[/company] chairman Leopoldo Fernández Pujals has already agreed. He only has 14.48 percent of the shares, though, and the holders of 50.01 percent of the total shares would need to agree before the deal goes through.

Regulators would also need to give the thumbs-up, both in Spain and the U.K., where Jazztel has registered offices. [company]Orange[/company] is the third-largest mobile operator in Spain, after [company]Telefonica[/company] and [company]Vodafone[/company], and the Jazztel buy would give it roughly 1.5 million fixed-line subscribers to help it push converged plans, including a range of mobile and fixed services.

The Spanish firm was founded 16 years ago by Martin Varsavsky, these days best known for his Wi-Fi-sharing outfit [company]Fon[/company]. According to Bloomberg, Orange hopes the deal will go through in the first half of 2015.