Having decided to remove itself from the US market and bulk-up its investments closer to home, Deutsche Telekom (DT) is said to be planning to increase its shareholding in the Greek telecoms group, OTE, according to a Reuters report.
DT has already invested around €3.8 billion since 2008, building a 30 per cent holding in OTE, and is now rumored to be interested in acquiring another 10 per cent that is held by the Greek government. Based upon current share prices, this 10 per cent of OTE would cost DT about €380 million.
While DT was reported by Reuters as stating that it had heard nothing from the Greek government with regard to selling part of its OTE holding, a Greek Finance Ministry official told Reuters earlier this week that the German telco remained interested in boosting its shareholding in OTE.
When DT first acquired its OTE stake in 2008, the deal included an option for the Greek government to sell a 10 per cent holding to DT by the end of this year. The government, as part of its five-year plan to avoid bankruptcy, said that it would reduce its 20 per cent holding in OTE by December of this year.
Currently, DT has the first rights of refusal on any OTE share sale made by the Greek government, but is burdened by the condition of having to pay a 15 per cent premium on any direct purchase. With OTE seemingly likely to be part of the Greek government's wide-ranging privatisation of state assets, local unions have said they would oppose any further increase in private ownership of OTE.
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