updated 6/19/2005 5:34:08 PM ET 2005-06-19T21:34:08

France Telecom denied a British newspaper report Sunday that it was planning a $7.3 billion takeover of British rival Cable & Wireless.

"France Telecom formally denies everything that is in this article," said spokeswoman Nilou de Castel. "It is pure fantasy."

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, which did not cite any sources, said France Telecom was planning the bid as part of a strategy to diversify its business interests in Britain.

C&W is Britain's second-largest telecommunications company. The company has undergone significant restructuring over the past two years after pulling back from an overambitious $16.43 billion plan to become a global telecommunications carrier for large businesses.

The company has shed its U.S. and Japanese businesses and announced 600 job losses across Europe in November. It also plans to cut 10 percent of its British work force of 4,500 to reduce costs.

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