The state holding company Slovenia Sovereign Holding (SSH) has begun inviting binding bids for its 72.75% interest in the country’s dominant fixed and mobile operator, Telekom Slovenije. According to local news portal Finance.si, offers are being accepted until the end of January, with a final decision expected as soon as March 2015. The state’s interest in Telekom is being sold off along with shares held by a number of minority investors, taking the total stake on offer to 75.58%.
As reported in TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate last month, the race to acquire a stake in Telekom Slovenije has been narrowed down to five bidders, including Deutsche Telekom (DT) plus private equity firms Providence, Bain Capital, Apax and Cinven. DT is being seen as the preferred bidder due to its existing operations in central and eastern Europe and long-term investment strategy. The privatisation was delayed from earlier this year as a result of Slovenia’s general election, with incoming prime minister Miro Cerar mulling the possibility of splitting the telco into its retail and infrastructure operations, and selling off the retail unit while retaining state control of the networks. The new government eventually announced that it would be selling Telekom as an intact operation in early October.