Deutsche Telekom wants to strengthen its operations in Eastern Europe and in order to do so it may seek to buy the remaining nearly 40% of its T-Mobile Czech unit, the Wall Street Journal reported citing unnamed sources. The German telecommunications company is also in talks to buy Polish broadband optical and IP network provider GTS Central Europe for about EUR 600mn from financial investors Columbia Capital, M/C Venture Partners, Innova Capital, HarbourVest Partners, Oak Investment Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners.
Deutsche Telekom controls 60.8% of T-Mobile Czech, which is the country’s biggest mobile phone company by number of users. The balance is owned by private equity firm Mid Europa Partners that has recently put the stake up for sale. According to the Wall Street Journal’s sources, Deutsche Telekom prefers another financial investor to buy Mid Europa Partners’ stake in its Czech unit but “is ready to buy the stake should an unwanted suitor emerge”.
Deutsche Telekom has been offering mobile communications services in the Czech Republic since 1996. T-Mobile CR competes on the Czech market with the local units of Spanish Telefonica and UK’s Vodafone. It reported a CZK 5.9bn revenue in the first three months of 2013, down 9.6% y/y. The number of T-Mobile mobile clients increased by 72,000 (4% y/y) to 5.6mn in Q1.
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