Bidders for IPKO in double digits

7 Oct 2020

Kosovo’s telecoms watchdog the Regulatory Authority for Post and Electronic Communications (Autoriteti Rregullator i Komunikimeve Elektronike dhe Postare, ARKEP) has briefed the Parliamentary Committee for the Economy on the progress of the sale of full-service provider IPKO by its parent, Telekom Slovenije. Local news outlets quote a senior ARKEP official as stating that the number of entities that had registered their interest in purchasing IPKO ‘was two digits’, but the Slovenian telco did not disclose the exact number, nor the names of the parties. The official added that the seller is not required to share such information at this stage of the sale, but will provide the relevant information to ARKEP once it completes the second phase of the process, currently scheduled to take place by mid-November. At that point, ARKEP will pass the information on to other governmental bodies, such as the Kosovo Intelligence Agency (Agjencia Kosovare e Inteligjences, AKI) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to investigate any potential risk to national security and to assess the suitability of the would-be purchaser.

Much of the committee’s discussion surrounded concerns regarding the potential takeover of IPKO by Serbian state-owned provider Telekom Srbija on national security grounds. Whilst the ARKEP members present confirmed that they would look to block the sale to the Serbian telco, MPs highlighted a potential barrier in that ARKEP’s board lacks a quorum and its decision-making could therefore be considered illegitimate or illegal. The issue was dismissed by ARKEP officials, however.

Kosovo, IPKO, Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications (ARKEP), Telekom Slovenije (incl. Mobitel), Telekom Srbija (MTS)