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Eutelsa Takeover Talks Put on Hold

January 24, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) _ Negotiations concerning a possible $3 billion takeover of satellite operator Eutelsat SA are on hold because of doubts about Eutelsat’s commitment to the process, a spokeswoman for one suitor said Friday.

``We still have an offer on the table _ we haven’t really halted discussions per se,″ said Susan Gordon, spokeswoman for Intelsat Ltd., one of two U.S.-based satellite companies that is bidding for Eutelsat. ``It’s just that we’re waiting to get some tangible evidence that they’re still interested.″

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Intelsat, which is incorporated in Bermuda but headquartered in Washington, D.C., and Connecticut-based PanAmSat Corp. had halted their separate talks to acquire Eutelsat after the French company resisted opening up its books.

The Journal characterized the development as a victory for Eutelsat’s chief executive, Giuliano Berretta, because he opposes shareholders’ desire to sell the entire company. Eutelsat’s main shareholders include a group of European telecommunications companies.

A PanAmSat spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment Friday. However, when asked by The Associated Press two weeks ago about the progess of the Eutelsat talks, PanAmSat CEO Joe Wright said: ``I think you have to talk to them as to what the status is.″

A Eutelsat spokeswoman refused to comment.

Either Intelsat or PanAmSat would become the world’s largest satellite broadcaster by acquiring Eutelsat, leapfrogging Luxembourg-based SES Global SA.

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