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Infonet Revives Equant Acquisition Talks

Infonet Services (IN), which provides data communications services to large companies, is in serious discussions to acquire Dutch rival Equant (ENT), according to The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter. The Financial Times Web site first reported the revived talks, which have been on and off all summer.

The Journal said terms couldn't be determined, but Equant has a market capitalization of about $9 billion. Also, the two companies are still discussing financial aspects of the deal such as whether this will be a cash or stock transaction. Equant, which owns an airline reservation system that offers phone and data services, has been on the market for some time and is being encouraged by SITA, a consortium of the world's biggest airlines, which wants to get rid of its 33% stake in Equant. Earlier this year, the company was in talks with France Telecom (FTE) and Global Crossing (GBLX), but negotiations fell through when terms of the approximately $10 billion deal couldn't be agreed upon. Also, about a year ago Deutsche Telekom (DT) quit talks amid concerns of Equant's huge price tag.

For Infonet, the acquisition could realize huge cost savings for the company, which has a similar network, as well as additional customers.

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