Weather Investments, the holding vehicle of Egyptian telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris, has agreed to buy Greece’s third and fourth largest cellcos by subscribers, TIM Hellas and Q-Telecom, from Apax Partners and Texas Pacific for a total of EUR3.4 billion (USD4.4 billion). The deal includes an acquisition price of EUR500 million and net debt of EUR2.9 billion. Weather Investments also controls Egyptian mobile group Orascom Telecom and Italian telco Wind, which has a 50% stake in Greek fixed line operator Tellas.
Apax and Texas Pacific took control of TIM Hellas from Telecom Italia in June 2005, paying EUR1.11 billion for an 80.9% stake, before acquiring the remaining shares for EUR264 million the following November. TIM Hellas’ wholly owned subsidiary Q-Telecom is an integrated telecoms services operator providing fixed telephony, internet access and mobile services. The two private equity firms completed the EUR350 million purchase of Q-Telecom from Info-Quest in January 2006, but it has continued to operate as an independent company. The international funds scrapped a previous attempt to sell the Athens-based operators in December 2006 after bidders, including Turkcell, reportedly failed to offer more than EUR3.2 billion.