Vodafone set for hostile bid

German telco Mannesmann rejected Vodafone AirTouch's sweetened bid of almost $200 billion, leaving the doors open for the largest ever hostile takeover battle.

Mannesmann rejected the latest offer, a 17 per cent premium on Vodafone's initial unsolicited bid, on the grounds it didn't reflect the true value of its shares. The company's supervisory board will address the bid in a meeting later this month.

Vodafone is now expected to launch a hostile bid for Mannesmann some time this week. A hostile takeover by Vodafone would be the largest offer ever, surpassing MCI WorldCom's $180 million takeover of Sprint telecommunications last month.