Lattelecom agreement finally reached

14 Mar 2008

Latvian transport minister Ainars Slesers has announced that an agreement on the future ownership of Lattelecom has finally been reached between the Transport ministry (which has responsibility for telecoms) and Swedish telco TeliaSonera, and is now pending formal government approval. Under the terms of the proposed deal, TeliaSonera will hand over its 49% stake in the Latvian telco to the government, and in exchange the Swedes will receive a 23% stake in cellco Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT), as well as the option to buy two further stakes of 5% from the government’s privatisation agency and the 23% held by Lattelecom. The deal will make Lattelecom 100% state owned and, if both options are exercised by TeliaSonera, will give the Stockholm-based telco a 100% interest in LMT. The agreement excludes private equity firm Blackstone Group, which had shown an interest in acquiring a stake in Lattelecom. Slesers added that the Latvian government may sell a 49% stake in the telco at a future date; Blackstone has already said it would pay up to LVL142 million (USD316 million) for the 49% holding if it is offered for sale.