C&W may question legality of IDC sale

C&W may question legality of IDC sale
Alex Mayhew-Smith Cable & Wireless is considering legal action as one of its options in an increasingly complex battle with NTT over the acquisition of Japanese telecoms carrier IDC. “There are aspects that are of dubious legality… We will continue to protect our investment and rights as a shareholder,” said a C&W spokesman. The row began when IDC rejected C&W’s ?328m offer in favour of a bid by fellow Japanese company NTT last week. The decision by IDC’s board could lead to C&W losing its 17.7 per cent stake in the company, due to a clause in Japan’s new commercial code which will be introduced later this year. C&W has held its founding stake in IDC for nearly 20 years and has said it does not intend to give it up. Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers, who has been kept in touch with the situation by C&W, has written to Japanese telecommunications minister Seiko Noda, warning that if NTT took control of IDC it would raise significant competition and regulatory issues in view of the majority government shareholding of NTT. He also welcomed C&W’s wish to expand in the Japanese market. Following a reply from Ms Noda, British embassy officials in Tokyo and her civil servants have been involved in “ongoing discussions”. C&W, which said it was “disappointed” by the IDC board’s recommendation to accept NTT’s bid, is also considering increasing its offer for IDC.


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