According to reports in the Italian press, German incumbent Deutsche Telekom (DT) is considering a bid for a two-thirds stake of Olimpia, a holding company that owns 18% of DT’s Italian counterpart, Telecom Italia (TI). Other potential suitors for Olimpia that have emerged recently are European giants Telefónica and France Telecom, and a joint bid from US-based AT&T and Mexican outfit Telmex. DT has made no comment on the latest speculation.
Speculation has also arisen as to the fate of Telecom Argentina (TA) should AT&T and Telmex succeed in their bid for Olimpia. TA, the former monopoly wireline provider in the north of Argentina, is 55%-owned by Nortel Inversora, in which TI holds a 50% stake, and an option to buy a further 48%. Should Telmex acquire a share of TI, then it would by default acquire a share of TA, which competes with Telmex-owned CTI Móvil in Argentina’s wireless market through its subsidiary Telecom Personal. At the end of 2006, Telecom Personal and CTI Móvil accounted for 60% of subscribers between them, and speculators think that the Argentine government may require either CTI or Personal to be sold to avoid market dominance by Telmex’s cellular arm, America Móvil.