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Report:Vodafone, Japan Co. in Talks

December 11, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ Vodafone PLC, Britain’s major telecommunications carrier, is in the final stage of talks to acquire a 15 percent stake in Japan’s third-largest telecommunications company, Japanese news media said Monday.

Vodafone, the largest mobile phone operator in Britain, is considering purchasing shares in Japan Telecom Co. for $2.5 billion, Kyodo News agency said. It quoted unnamed industry sources.

Mina Tajima, a spokeswoman for the Tokyo-based Japan Telecom, said the media report was ``speculation.″ She refused to discuss other details, including whether talks between the two companies were going on.

Kyodo said the deal would make Vodafone the second-largest shareholder in Japan Telecom. It would share the spot with British Telecommunications PLC and AT&T Corp. of the United States, which each hold 15 percent.

Vodafone currently owns shares in four companies of the J-Phone group, Japan Telecom’s fast-growing mobile phone arm.

Japan Telecom, set up in 1986, is now owned 15.1 percent by East Japan Railway Co. The rest is held by BL, AT&T and several Japanese companies.

Japan’s mobile phone market is dominated by NTT DoCoMo Inc.

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