Vodafone's Power Play
He has butted heads with industry titans, from British Telecommunications to Bell Atlantic, always coming away the winner. And in the process, Vodafone AirTouch Chief Executive Christopher C. Gent has built up a reputation as the wizard of the mobile-phone industry, a cheery Briton piecing together the world's first wireless empire. But on a recent gray morning in London, the 51-year-old Gent was in a squeeze. His $107 billion offer for his partner of a decade, Germany's Mannesmann, looked to be in trouble. Two days before a crucial Mannesmann board meeting on Nov. 19, Gent flew off to Germany once again for more frantic talks with institutional investors in both companies.
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