Vivendi and Deutsche Telekom butt heads over PTC

2 Mar 2005

Vivendi Universal has filed a complaint with the Polish courts accusing Deutsche Telekom and Elektrim, the Polish electricity utility, of conspiring to deprive it of its stake in wireless operator Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa (PTC). According to Vivendi the two companies committed ‘a series of acts which constitute a fraudulent abuse of process, against which no steps have been taken by the Polish justice system’. The wrangling has even led to Deutsche Telekom’s newly appointed members of the PTC board being barred from entering the PTC headquarters by a management team believed to favour the French conglomerate.

The long-running dispute centres on the ownership of PTC. Deutsche Telekom has long owned 49% of the company, with Vivendi claiming that the remainder was held by a 50/50 joint venture with Elektrim. But a Warsaw court with jurisdiction over share registrations concluded that most of these shares – amounting to a 48% stake in PTC – were in fact owned by Elektrim only. Last month Deutsche Telekom exercised an option to acquire Elektrim’s shares at an undisclosed price, which would give it a 97% stake in the cellco. The latest legal action opens a six month negotiating period, with a provision that in the case of breakdown the dispute would go before the international court overseen by the United Nations for arbitration.

Poland, Deutsche Telekom (DT), Elektrim Telekomunikacja (ET), T-Mobile Poland (Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa, PTC)