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France Telecom shifts focus onto emerging markets

France Telecom has stated that it is keen to pursue partnerships in the Middle East and Africa as a means of strengthening its market presence in these regions. The French firm’s CEO Stephane Richard has confirmed that “several targets” are being considered as potential inroads into emerging markets.

While the firm has made a number of recent acquisitions, including operations in Iraq and Morocco as well as a rumoured interest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this is not the only avenue open for exploration, according to Richard. He notes “there are big players in Africa, and we can have interesting dialogues and even partnerships with other players in Africa.”

The French operator has a precedent of international collaboration with Deutsche Telekom, most notably in the UK where the two firms combined their operations to form Everything Everywhere.

France Telecom appears to be stepping away from developed markets in favour of emerging markets, with reports indicating that the firm is looking to sell off its holdings in Orange Austria and the Portuguese operator Sonaecom. France Telecom is also aiming to sell its Swiss operations by year-end 2011.

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