Telekom Austria interested in Serbia's SBB

By bne IntelliNews July 15, 2013

Telekom Austria said it is interested in acquiring Serbia's  largest cable operator SBB, controlled by investment fund Mid Europa Partners, in its strive to become a key player in Southeast Europe, Austrian daily Wirtschaftsblatt reported on its webiste.

Telekom Austria CEO Hannes Ametsreiter told the daily the group, which already has mobile units in Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Macedonia and Belarus, wants to become the largest player in the region in the mid-term. In order to achieve this, it will need to make some acquisitions along with accelerating its organic growth.

Among the possible acquisitions is also Croatia's H1 Telekom, Ametsreiter said.

Local media speculated earlier this month that London-based Mid Europa Partners has launched the sale of its United Group comprising leading pay TV operators in Southeast Europe, including Serbia’s SBB.

When asked for a comment, however, Mid Europa said the company has a policy of not commenting on media speculation or any matters relating to their plans or portfolio strategy for our portfolio companies. 

The media reports claimed that Mid Europa eyes some EUR 1.2bn from the sale of United Group, which also includes the largest cable operator in Slovenia and Bosnia – Telemach, the largest satellite platform in SEE – Total TV, as well as another 15 smaller firms. Mid Europa controls United Group in partnership with the EBRD.

SBB became the fourth fixed telephony operator in Serbia in October 2012 and is allegedly going to receive a mobile licence as well soon. It emerged from the integration of cable internet providers across Serbia in 2002 and 2003.

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