Former state-owned telecoms incumbents with their reliable cash streams from millions of customers have an enviable position in these turbulent economic times. But don’t think that means they can kick back and catch up on their sunbathing, says France Telecom‘s finance chief Gervais Pellissier. Nor do they have time to explore unlikely mergers and acquisitions, like last year’s $40 billion hostile and ultimately failed bid for Nordic telco group TeliaSonera. This year at France Telecom, owner of the Orange brand, it’s all hands on deck for management to steer the great ship through the crisis. “Even on an aircraft carrier, when the sea is very big, I think everybody works,” Pellissier told the Reuters Global Technology Summit in Paris. ”When the sea is calm in the Mediterranean in the middle of summer, half of the team can tan on the sun deck,” he said. I don’t say this is what we did in 2008… but let’s say we could dedicate some time to such an operation last year that we cannot dedicate this year — it’s impossible.”
Investment bank Jefferies recently released a report on technology M&A in the first quarter of 2009. As one can imagine, there are few surprises. We may as well give you the highlights here, which point to some signs of recovery compared to the end of last year, but clearly there’s still a long way to go:
This is turning out to be an earnings season when all bets are off on how technology giants will perform. With tech earnings taking the market on a roller-coaster ride, it wouldn’t be surprising if investors are a little sick in the stomach already.