A private equity group has acquired a 39.2% stake in Czech mobile operator T-Mobile Czech Republic, writes Dow Jones. The consortium, which comprises Al-Bateen Investment, Lehman Brothers Private Equity and Mid Europa Partners, purchased the stake by taking control of local telecoms operator Ceske Radiokomunikace, formerly a minority owner of the Czech T-Mobile unit. According to the law firm Linklaters which has been advising the consortium, the transaction was valued at EUR1.2 billion (USD1.55 billion). Lehman Brothers has since confirmed that the consortium, which also includes private equity companies Al-Bateen and Mid Europa, carried out the Radiokomunikace transaction. The deal was reportedly part financed by a loan totalling EUR750 million, arranged through ING Bank together with Bank Austria Creditanstalt and Banca Intesa.
Radiokomunikace, also known locally as Ceske Radiokomunikace, is the Czech Republic’s third largest telecoms operator and also runs the country’s network of television and radio signal transmitters. In the 1990s it teamed up with Deutsche Telekom to build the country’s second largest cellular network, in exchange for which it received a minority stake in T-Mobile Czech Republic, while the rest remained in the hands of the German behemoth.