Czech investment vehicle PPF Group, a company controlled by the billionaire Petr Kellner, is close to buying a controlling stake in the Republic’s largest carrier Telefonica O3 Czech Republic for EUR2.5 billion (USD3.45 billion), the Financial Times reported, citing two people familiar with the details. A deal could come as early as today, the paper says. If successful, PPF is then expected to launch a tender offer for the remaining 31% of the carrier currently listed on the Czech stock exchange, potentially adding a further EUR1 billion to the enterprise value of the deal, in order to take it private, the FT said. Telefonica and PPF Group declined to comment.
Earlier this month TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that Telefonica of Spain is teeing up the sale of its 69% holding in Czech incumbent Telefonica O2 CR, to raise funds for ‘further industry consolidation’. At the time it was claimed that Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale are helping the Madrid-based giant find a buyer for its Czech holding. Telefonica’s Czech business has been identified as a non-core asset to be sold and comes hard on the heels of the Spanish firm’s decision to offload its Irish division for EUR850 million, and take control of KPN Telecom’s German business E-Plus in a potential EUR8.5 billion deal.