Do Co Mo Rising

Japan's mobile titan buys into KPN for a European toehold

Ever since Britain's Vodafone AirTouch PLC acquired Germany's Mannesmann for $163 billion in February, players in Europe's highly competitive telecommunications industry have been bracing themselves for a consolidation wave. But it's not happening as fast as planned: Europe's ex-monopolies are keeping up their record as dismal dealmakers. On May 5, internal squabbling at Spain's Telefonica dashed plans for a merger with Royal KPN, the Dutch national phone company. Last year, Deutsche Telekom failed to pull off a friendly merger with Telecom Italia. And Norway's Telenor and Sweden's Telia in December canceled a planned merger.

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