Alternative Greek telco Wind Hellas has acquired a call option to acquire the second largest stake in rival ForthNet, it emerged via stock market statements issued last week. ForthNet confirmed that Wind’s parent company Largo informed it that it had acquired an option to purchase 27.04% of the total equity and voting rights in ForthNet, via an agreement with Zesmero, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cypriot legal and financial services firm Fine Life Group. As reported by CommsUpdate last week, Fine Life (itself 100% owned by businessman Fotos Pittadjis) has become the second largest shareholder in ForthNet by buying the entire 25.73% stake of Cyrte Investments plus additional shares. The call option agreement allows Wind to acquire the shares twelve months after the signing of the agreement (on 18 July 2014).
Greek newspaper Ekathimerini published an article quoting telecoms market participants as saying that ForthNet is the intended target of an aggressive takeover bid by unnamed investment funds claimed to be behind Fine Life’s stake acquisition. Speculation has it that if successful, the funds would attempt to sell ForthNet to a rival telecom provider, with Wind Hellas apparently first in line following its call option acquisition. ForthNet’s largest shareholder, Emirates International Telecommunications (holding 41.3% of shares via Cypriot-registered Forgendo) has called an extraordinary board meeting, at which it may decide whether or not to continue with its existing plan to raise its investment in its Greek unit via a share capital increase.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that previous talks on a proposed merger between ForthNet’s telecoms division (excluding pay-TV) with Wind Hellas were abandoned in January 2013.