The Serbian government has received bids from six companies for the state’s 58% stake in Telekom Srbija, Reuters writes, citing Minister for Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic. The government will now examine the offers and select a preferred bidder within the next 14 days, following which it will enter into negotiations with the prospective buyer, the official said, adding: ‘If we don’t think a single bid is good enough, we may decide to give up the privatisation.’ The government is anticipating an offer in the region of EUR1.4 billion (USD1.49 billion), having previously rejected an offer of EUR1.1 billion in 2011 as too low. The identity of the bidders was not disclosed, although Mr Ljajic noted that most interest had come from private investment funds. Rumoured bidders include Telekom Slovenije – in partnership with US-based private equity fund Apollo Global Management – and latecomer China Telecom Corporation, which was revealed to have taken an interest in the company earlier this month.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in August this year a list of 14 companies registered to take part in the sale was released by former economic minister and an opponent of the government’s privatisation programme, Sasa Radulovic. The list comprised: Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Advent International, Apollo Global Management, BC Partners, Colbeck Capital Management, CVC Capital Partners, Deutsche Telekom (DT), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Vivacom (registered as Bulgarian Telecommunications Company, BTC), Mid Europa Partners, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Novator Partners, Telekom Slovenije and Turkcell.