DT/PTC/Elektrim/Vivendi battle soon to be over?

13 Jun 2006

In a move that could be seen as the beginning of the end of one of the longest running legal battles in the telecoms industry, an arbitration court in Vienna has ruled that Deutsche Telekom (DT) may legally exercise a call option on Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa (PTC) shares held by Elektrim Telekomunikacja. Elektrim Telekomunikacja held 48% of PTC before the ruling and is a joint venture between Vivendi Universal (51%) and Elektrim (49%). DT said yesterday that it doesn’t actually hold the stake yet as a price had yet to be agreed. Elektrim CEO Piotr Nurowski told reporters that the book value of the stake is EUR350 million, but that his company was hopeful of gaining more. ‘The market value is between EUR2.4 billion (USD3.0 billion) and EUR2.6 billion,’ he added. Shares in Elektrim plummeted 48% after the ruling had been announced. One spanner in the works, however, could come from Vivendi. The French media company is adamant that the assertions made by Elektrim that DT owns 97% of PTC are ‘groundless and constitute an infringement on Elektrim Telekomunikacja’s property rights.’