The Telekom Austria Group has confirmed that on 14 October 2011 Vienna-based RPR Privatstiftung acquired a call option on Telekom shares, exercisable until 18 June 2012, via a pair of 100%-owned subsidiaries, Marathon Beteiligungs and Marathon Zwei Beteiligungs. The call option enables Marathon to acquire shares equating to 5.4% of the company, which include corresponding voting rights of 5.4%. Telekom says that RPR Privatstiftung and its subsidiaries already hold a total of 374,742 shares between them, effectively giving the holding company a shareholding of 5.485%. According to Bloomberg, RPR Privatstiftung is an investment vehicle belonging to Ronny Pecik, a businessman who was linked with a ‘hostile takeover’ of the telecoms giant earlier this month.
In September Format Magazine reported that Telekom Austria was being eyed as a potential acquisition target by an international investor group that also included Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, the chairman of Orascom Telecom. Format reported that the consortium is keen to secure a 20% stake in Telekom Austria for a purchase price of around EUR750 million (USD1.02 billion). Whilst Sawiris’ precise role in the approach remains unclear, he recently pledged 4.23% of his shareholding in Russian telecoms group Vimpelcom as collateral against a USD600 million loan. Yesterday Samih Sawiris, the CEO of Orascom Development Holding, and brother of Naguib, admitted: ‘I can confirm that my brother plans to expand in Switzerland and Austria’. When quizzed by Bloomberg, Elisabeth Mattes, a spokeswoman for Telekom Austria, said that the company ‘welcomes any new investors’; Pecik has yet to comment on the development.