Saturday, January 16, 1999 Published at 19:22 GMT
Business: The Company File
Mammoth mobile merger
Merged company will be world's biggest mobile concern
British mobile phone company Vodafone has completed a deal with US firm AirTouch which would create the world's largest cell phone company.
AirTouch had fought off a take-over bid from Bell Atlantic and pulled out of merger talks after Vodafone offered more money. The British firm will pay around $56bn for Air Touch.
The new company will have a market capitalisation of $110bn making it the third largest company listed on the UK FTSE 100 index.
Customers on four continents
The combined company, to be known as Vodafone AirTouch Plc, will reach nearly one billion people in 23 countries on four continents.
AirTouch shareholders will receive five ordinary Vodafone shares plus $9 in cash for each of their shares, said a joint statement released by the companies.
New York Business Correspondent Patrick O'Connell says that Vodafone wants to gain a foothold in the US market through the deal.
The two operators are also expected to complement each other in Europe, where Vodafone has a presence not only in Britain but throughout continental Europe.
The pair are already partners through GlobalStar, a satellite mobile communication company competing with Iridium, which has the only network currently in place.
AirTouch has some 7.5 million subscribers throughout the US.
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