Rumour Mill: Telekom Austria seeks Eastern European acquisitions

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Telekom Austria is looking to partner with an investment bank to help the operator identify potential acquisitions in Eastern Europe, according to a report in Austrian business newspaper Wirtschaftsblatt.

The operator is interested in making smaller acquisitions in countries where it is already active, the report said, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter. The targets could include mobile, fixed or cable TV operators, said the source.

Any deal could see Telekom Austria's current Eastern European investments transferred into a holding company to allow the operator's second-largest shareholder, América Móvil, to provide capital. América Móvil would hold 79 per cent of the holding company, with Telekom Austria holding the remaining 21 per cent, Wirtschaftsblatt reported. The Austrian government is unlikely to help finance any ventures by Telekom Austria outside of the domestic market.

However, the company is struggling in a fiercely competitive home market, and is seeing its foreign telecoms investments in Central and Eastern European countries suffer from harsh economic conditions. Telekom Austria already cut its 2012 dividend in September following a profit warning, noted Dow Jones Newswires.

According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database, Telekom Austria currently operates in Central and Eastern Europe through the following subsidiaries: A1 Telekom Austria; MobilTel (Bulgaria); VIPnet (Croatia); Velcom (Belarus); Si.Mobil (Slovenia); Mobilkom Serbia; Mobilkom Macedonia and Mobilkom Liechtenstein.

For more:
- see this Wirtschaftsblatt article (translated via Google Translate)
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article
- see this Telegeography article

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