DT in talks to up Slovak stake to 100%; eyeing wireline assets in Poland, Netherlands, Austria

23 May 2011

Deutsche Telekom (DT) is in talks with the Slovakian government to buy the 49% it does not already own in Slovak Telekom, according to Roland Mahler, the head of DT’s Europe (excluding Germany) division. Slovak finance minister Ivan Miklos revealed in March that the state plans to divest its 49% stake in the incumbent telco within eighteen months to cut the budget deficit; it will pursue an international tender or flotation on the stock markets of Bratislava, Prague or Warsaw. DT holds first refusal rights on the stake and is also required to give permission for an initial public offering (IPO), according to TeleGeography’s globalComms Database.

The recent USD39 billion agreement to sell T-Mobile USA to AT&T Inc leaves DT focused on Germany and southern and eastern Europe, and it is currently looking at the possibility of acquiring fixed line assets in Poland, the Netherlands and Austria to combine with mobile operations. Potential takeover targets in Poland include Netia and Telefonia Dialog. As quoted by Bloomberg, Mr Mahler, said: ‘Fixed-mobile convergence is a precondition to be able to leverage the market and certainly to serve the customer best by offering fixed, broadband and TV … In the integrated markets we see the customers want exactly that kind of full-fledged proposition.’ In Slovakia, the legal merger of Slovak Telekom and T-Mobile Slovensko took effect on 1 July 2010 in line with DT’s group strategy; the combined company operates under the legal entity of Slovak Telekom, using the T-Mobile and T-Com (fixed and broadband) brands.