Telekom Slovenije sale collapses

4 Mar 2008

The Slovene Press Agency reports that the commission overseeing the planned privatisation of Telekom Slovenije has recommended that the government reject the two remaining bids for a 49.13% stake in the incumbent. ‘The commission believes the sale under the terms offered would be uneconomical and fail to meet the expectations regarding the [government’s] goals,’ the commission’s chairperson Matjaz Jansa announced. Bids from Iceland’s Skipti and British-German consortium Bain Capital, Axos Capital & BT were not improved by a 29 February deadline ‘in a way that would make them acceptable’, Jansa revealed, adding that the commission could meet as soon as next week to examine possible further steps in the privatisation attempt. Economy Minister Andrej Vizjak has not ruled out the possibility of launching a new tender during the current government’s term, nor the option of an initial public offering.

According to Jansa, both bidders offered EUR400 per share, but with very different sale conditions. The British-German consortium opted for a leveraged buyout which would have left Telekom with debts of EUR1 billion, while the Icelandic bidding proposal involved selling Skipti (with assets including Iceland’s incumbent telco Simmin) to Telekom for EUR784 million. Vizjak said that developments in global financial markets contributed to the bids being poorer than expected.