Will Orascom, the growing Egyptian mobile telephone operator, take over Bouygues Télécom, the third biggest operator in France?  Bouygues Télécom provides most of the free cash flow available to its parent, Bouygues, the giant construction company.

Will Vallourec, the steel tubes manufacturer whose shares have increased by nearly 50% over the past couple of months, thanks to its involvement in the petroleum industry, be taken over by Arcelor-Mittal, by Gazprom or the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovitch?  The President of Vallourec, Pierre Verluca, seems to have a "never say no" strategy while playing his cards close to his chest and saying that Vallourec can continue to function perfectly well as a standalone operator.  He has said that Vallourec can also be a predator, with up to one billion euros available to purchase the company that provides the right fit.

 
 

In today's Le Monde (dated tomorrow) Mr. Lakshmi Mittal stated that since the "merger" with Arcelor debt has been brought down to 23-24 billion dollars at the end of the 2007 first quarter.  This success has come as a result of the profits generated by the group and the synergy savings already realized, in the area of about 570 million dollars with an objective of realizing 1.8 billion dollars in synergies by 2008.  The main objective is to maintain the group's financial rating. 

Mr. Mittal, when asked about the possible acquisition of Vallourec, said that he did not comment on rumors.   When asked if he was going to help his "friend" François Pinault who, it is rumored, is interested in the Vinci building construction group he said "How can I help him?  I don't know what his projects are.  We have not talked about Vinci."