Telekom Austria cleared to make Serbian offer

Michael Carroll
31 Mar 2011

Telekom Austria has debunked reports that Serbia’s government will abandon its sale of Telekom Srbija, revealing it has been asked to proceed with a conditional offer for the telco.

Serbia’s government on Tuesday called on the Austrian incumbent to complete a conditional bid made on March 21, and rework the offer to comply with tender requirements within the next fortnight.

The reworking likely refers to the price Telekom Austria submitted for the 51% stake in Telekom Srbija that is for sale. The carrier deliberately offered less than the €1.4 billion ($1.98 billion) price tag set by Serbia’s government, in a tactical move designed to ensure rival Deutsche Telekom didn’t acquire the controlling stake.

Deutsche Telekom already has an indirect stake of 20% in Telekom Srbija via its holding in Greek carrier OTE.

However, Telekom Austria turned out to be the only bidder in the tender, prompting reports this week that Serbia’s government would cancel the sale and instead turn to bond issues to secure additional cash.

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