The government of Slovakia has agreed a EUR900 million (USD1 billion) deal for Deutsche Telekom (DT) to acquire the 49% of national fixed and mobile operator Slovak Telekom (ST) that it does not already own. The German telco took its initial 51% stake in the Slovak operator in 2000, and the government had planned to offload its own 49% share through an initial public offering (IPO) this month until DT came forward with its last-minute bid. Under the agreement, EUR100 million will be held in an escrow account pending the outcome of a number of legal cases involving ST. Bloomberg quotes DT’s CEO Timotheus Hoettges as saying: ‘We want to be successful in Slovakia. Acquiring the 100% stake is a logical outcome of our presence.’ ST had 2.22 million mobile subscribers, 894,000 fixed line customers and 448,000 retail fixed broadband users at the end of 2014, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.
Meanwhile, authorities in Slovenia are questioning why DT has opted to increase its interest in the Slovak firm while earlier this year it pulled out of an auction offering a majority stake in their own national fixed and mobile operator, Telekom Slovenije. Opposition politicians have been criticising the government’s handling of the privatisation, according to local press reports, with only the UK-based private equity firm Cinven left in the running to buy the state’s 72.75% stake in the Slovenian full-service telco in a sale which has been hit with a number of delays and postponements.