Providence Equity Partners is understood to be among the bidders for TIM Hellas, writes UK newspaper The Times. Greece’s third largest mobile operator has been put on the market for EUR4 billion (USD5.1 billion) by parents Texas Pacific Group and Apax Partners. Providence is jostling for ownership of the cellco with the UAE’s Etisalat, whilst others to have indicated interest in the sale include Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) and Egypt’s Orascom Telecom. However, the paper reports that some potential buyers have balked at the mooted asking price, describing the sale as ‘opportunistic’.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Apax Partners and Texas Pacific acquired TIM Hellas from Telecom Italia in April 2005 via holding vehicle Troy GAC Telecommunications. The Italian group offloaded its Greek asset to cut debt and focus on domestic and broadband markets. Troy GAC paid EUR1.114 billion for an 80.87% stake when the deal was completed in June 2005, before acquiring all of the remaining shares for EUR263.5 million the following November. The equity houses also agreed to buy Greece’s fourth placed cellco, Q-Telecom, for EUR350 million from Info-Quest in October 2005 and completed the deal at the end of January 2006. Q-Telecom is wholly owned by Helen GAC Telecommunications, a wholly owned subsidiary of TIM Hellas, but continues to operate as an independent company.