Greek telco OTE – itself part of German group Deutsche Telekom (DT) – has agreed to sell its entire 99.79% stake in its Albanian mobile division Telekom Albania to Albania Telecom Invest for a total consideration of EUR50 million (USD57 million). Albania Telecom Invest is controlled by Bulgarian businessman Spas Roussev – who is also the controlling shareholder of Bulgarian fixed line incumbent Vivacom (registered as Bulgarian Telecommunications Company or BTC) – and by Albanian-Bulgarian investor Elvin Guri. The transaction remains subject to closing conditions including approval from local regulatory authorities, but DT expects the sale to be completed within the first half of 2019.
Bulgarian news agency Capital quotes Mr Roussev as saying: ‘This is the first step towards my attempt to consolidate the Balkan telecom market. The negotiations with DT for their company in Romania continues, where due to the size of the transaction, I am involved with a partner, and at a later stage there are talks about Macedonia.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Telekom Albania was put up for sale in October last year. Serbian state-owned Telekom Srbija reportedly submitted the highest bid for the cellco, but faced fierce political opposition. The Albanian government noted, however, that despite its concerns, authority to reject the Serbian firm’s offer lay in the hands of independent regulatory bodies and Tirana was powerless to intervene in the process.