EU says Eurotel deal still requires clearance

2 Nov 2004

The EU Commission has said that it has not yet given Deutsche Telekom (DT) the green light to assume full control of Slovakian mobile operator Eurotel (Bratislava), and that the deal still requires clearance from antitrust bodies. The announcement represents a retraction by the Commission, which earlier this year said it had cleared the German company’s purchase of the 49% stake in Eurotel, held jointly by AT&T Wireless Services and Verizon Communications of the US. Under the latest ruling, DT must now file a new request, following which EU regulators will have one month to decide whether to clear the deal or subject it to a full investigation. DT, which already owns 51% of Eurotel, has agreed to pay EUR250 million for the remaining shares, and wants to bring the Slovakian cellco under the umbrella of its global T-Mobile branding. Eurotel is the second-largest mobile operator in Slovakia, with 1.74 million subscribers at the end of June 2004. The market is headed by the France Telecom-owned Orange Slovensko, which had 2.21 million customers at the same date.