The race to acquire a stake in Slovenia’s state-backed fixed and mobile operator Telekom Slovenije has been narrowed down to five bidders, including Deutsche Telekom (DT) plus four private equity firms. According to Reuters, the German giant is competing with US-based funds Providence and Bain Capital, and European counterparts Apax and Cinven as the Slovenian government looks to sell off its 72.75% interest in the telco. Other shareholders are also offloading shares, taking the total stake on offer to 75.58%. An unnamed source told Reuters that DT is being seen as the preferred bidder due to its existing operations in central and eastern Europe and long-term investment strategy; the firm has existing operations in Croatia and Hungary where its subsidiaries T-Hrvatski Telekom (T-HT) and Magyar Telekom could be used as vehicles to buy Telekom Slovenije, the source said. The sale is expected to be completed in the first half of 2015.