French media and telecommunications group Vivendi yesterday confirmed it has made a EUR2.5 billion (USD3.2 billion) bid for Deutsche Telekom’s (DT’s) 49% stake in Polish mobile operator Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa. The news is the latest twist in a long-running battle for ownership of PTC: DT and Vivendi have been wrangling for control of the carrier in both Polish and Austrian courts for several years. Vivendi claims it owns 51% of PTC through a holding company that is jointly owned with Polish conglomerate Elektrim, which owns 48% of PTC. Deutsche Telekom, meanwhile, claims it exercised a call option to buy Elektrim’s stake in June, giving it control of 97% of the company.
Analysts from leading investment houses have been quoted as saying that the French company’s offer is ‘surprising’ as it assumes that Elektrim still owns the 48% stake in PTC. Vivendi said it ‘strongly challenges’ suggestions DT had bought the 48% stake, saying the German telcos move to exercise a call option over Elektrim’s stake in PTC was based on an arbitration ruling made by a court in Vienna nearly two years ago. It insisted at the time that the original agreement between DT and Elektrim had been reached ‘in violation of Polish court rulings.’