Deutsche Telekom to pay €2.5bn for OTE stake

Deutsche Telekom has agreed to take a 20% stake in Greece's incumbent phone company in a €2.5 billion/US$3.9 billion deal and hopes to increase the stake even more, an Associated Press report said.

The Bonn-based company said it would buy the shares in Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, or OTE, from Greek private equity firm Marfin Investment Group for €26 (US$40.46) apiece.

MIG currently holds just shy of 20% of Hellenic Telecom, making it the company's second largest shareholder, with slightly more than 98 million shares. Greece's government is the biggest shareholder, with just more than 28% of the company.

The report also quoted Ovum analyst Mike Cansfield saying that on the surface the deal would seem odd (see AnalystWire for full comment from Cansfield) 'Why would DT look to take over the Greek incumbent‾ The answer is not to look to Greece, but OTE's mobile investments in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, and Albania,' he said of Cosmote, Hellenic's mobile phone unit. Hellenic also holds a controlling share of Romtelecom, the former Romanian telephone monopoly, the Associated Press report said.

The deal is subject to approval by Deutsche Telekom's supervisory board and the Greek government.