Art of the Deal Meets the China Syndrome

Sometimes, people get cold feet. It happens, but what people really want to know is why rather that the after affect.

LONDON, July 13 — The party invitations were sent, the bags were packed and the executives of Millicom International Cellular were ready to leave for Beijing to celebrate the sale of their company to China Mobile Communications.

But shortly before Millicom executives could leave for Luxembourg Airport, China was on the line and the $5.3 billion deal was off.

That was the conclusion last week of months of negotiations between the Chinese company, hungry for acquisitions in emerging market industries, and Millicom, a mobile phone company with nine million subscribers in developing countries.

Why the Chinese got cold feet is open for debate, but financial advisers on both sides, who spent months shuttling Chinese executives to Millicom offices stretching from Chad to El Salvador, were shocked.

Millicom issued a statement that day, July 3, saying it had terminated “all discussions concerning a potential sale.” Its stock promptly fell 25 percent…. Source: NYT