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Deutsche Telekom in €2.5bn Greek buy

18 марта 2008

Deutsche Telekom hopes to secure management control of Hellenic Telecom after announcing plans to buy a near-20 per cent stake in Greece’s leading telecoms company for about €2.5bn ($3.9bn).

Deutsche Telekom said it had reached agreement to buy the 19.99 per cent stake in Hellenic, also known as OTE, from Marfin Investment group, a private equity group, at €26 a share, or a 36 per cent premium to Friday’s closing price.

However, the German telecoms group’s deal with Marfin is conditional on an agreement with the Greek government that enables Deutsche Telekom to secure management control of OTE.

René Obermann, Deutsche Telekom’s chief executive, said agreement with the Athens government was “essential”, and officials at the German group expressed confidence it would be reached in the coming months.

Deutsche Telekom is aiming to emerge with about a 30 per cent stake in OTE, which would make it the largest shareholder, with rights to appoint the chief executive and to have a majority of seats on the company’s board.

Shares in Deutsche Telekom dropped 0.2 per cent to €17.52, while OTE’s shares were 1 per cent higher at €15.91.

Deutsche Telekom’s Greek plans should be the second significant cross-border European telecoms deal in less than a year.

Deutsche Telekom in €2.5bn Greek buyLast October Spain’s Telefónica joined a consortium led by Italian financial institutions that bought a controlling stake in Telecom Italia, Italy’s leading telecoms company.

That deal underlined how European telecoms groups are looking for cost savings by combining their purchasing power when buying equipment such as mobile phones and network infrastructure.

Deutsche Telekom said expenditure savings with a net present value of €2bn should be possible between it and OTE.

The Greek government, which owns 28 per cent of OTE, has been looking for a strategic investor for the company for several years.

George Alogoskoufis, the Greek finance minister, described Deutsche Telekom’s agreement with Marfin as “a welcome development, compatible with the policy of the Greek government for OTE”. Deutsche Telekom is midway through a turnround as Mr Obermann tries to improve the group’s weak performance compared with leading European telecoms companies such as Telefónica.

He has been searching for new growth opportunities outside Germany to offset the effects of increasing competition in Deutsche Telekom’s home market.

Источник: Financial Times

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