Turkcell pushing Balkan acquisition spree

By bne IntelliNews November 26, 2012

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Less than a week after bidding for Bulgaria's second largest mobile operator, Turkcell is reportedly preparing an offer for Bosnia-Herzegovina's BH Telecom, as the Turkish giant seeks via M&A to extend its reach across the Balkans.

According to the local press, Turkcell is preparing to bid for Bosnia-Herzegovina's largest mobile operator, which enjoys a market share of 45% and capitalization of around $800m on the Sarajevo Stock Exchange.

Last week, Turkcell placed a non-binding bid for a 100% stake in Bulgaria's second largest mobile communication company Cosmote Bulgaria Mobile EAD, after losing out in the summer on the largest player in the country - Vivacom - to a consortium led by Russian state bank VTB.

The Turkish company is also one of five bidders to enter the final round for a 75% stake in Kosovo Post and Telecommunications Corporation (PTC), a process on which Pristina extended the deadline on November 23. The government will now accept offers until January 15, it said, according to Reuters. It had previously said the tender process would end in the second half of November.

"This extension is decided also in the interest of having support from financial institutions, particularly after Kosovo's membership of the EBRD," the Kosovo Ministry for Economic Development said. Kosovo will become a full member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on Dec. 17.

The government said in 2010 it hoped to make €300-600m from selling the stake - which does not include PTC's postal arm - but has not given a more recent valuation. The company has more than 1m mobile subscribers and 100,000 landline customers. It also provides internet and cable TV services.

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