Local press reports in Slovenia suggest that Deutsche Telekom (DT) has now pulled out of the bidding to acquire the government’s majority stake in national telco Telekom Slovenije, leaving just the UK-based private equity firm Cinven with an offer on the table. According to Finance.si, the bid from Cinven will be in the region of EUR105-EUR115 (USD111-USD122) per share, well below Telekom Slovenije’s current share price of EUR128. The report suggests that opponents of the privatisation within government may now push for the sale to be scrapped altogether, with the state set to bring in only around EUR550 million for its 72.75% interest, which is well below its initial expectations of over EUR750 million when the sale process was first launched last year.
The privatisation has been hit by a number of delays and setbacks, with the sale originally expected to be completed around twelve months ago but then postponed until after Slovenia’s July 2014 general election; prior to that, it had been rumoured that more than ten parties were interested in the deal. Incoming prime minister Miro Cerar then came out and voiced some doubts over the previous government’s privatisation programme, with suggestions that Telekom could be split into separate retail and networks businesses, with the state retaining control of the infrastructure side. This plan was eventually shelved and the sale appeared to be back on track as 2014 drew to a close, though by year-end the field of prospective bidders had been narrowed to four. The uncertainty surrounding a number of lawsuits being faced by Telekom, plus a controversy over the involvement of the country’s Minister of Defence and the use of intelligence services to examine the potential effects of the deal, have served to further taint the privatisation in 2015.