Rumour Mill: Telekom Austria unveils Serbian solution

An intricate plan has been hatched by Telekom Austria whereby it could gain control of Telekom Srbija by swapping its holding in VIP, a smaller Serbian mobile operator, with Deutsche Telekom, according to an unofficial report in the Serbia newspaper Blic. The report claims that Telekom Austria has offered to purchase the Serbian government's 31 per cent holding in Telekom Srbija along with the 20 per cent held by the Greek operator OTE.

Telekom Austria would then look to offer Deutsche Telekom (a large shareholder in OTE) its existing holding in Serbian operator VIP for the amount it paid for the 20 per cent OTE shareholding.

Insiders claims that the Serbian government considers the proposal as a 'win-win' solution where the state would receive €840 million for its 31 per cent holding in Telekom Srbija, while Telekom Austria gains control with 51 per cent of Telekom Srbija without over-paying. Also, Deutsche Telekom would have a direct entry into the Serbian market through VIP.

Pressure on the Serbian government to resolve the future of Telekom Srbija has come from the European Union, which is keen to see the country comply with anti-monopoly regulations. While the complex proposal might make sense to Telekom Austria and the Serbian government, no comment has been made by Deutsche Telekom as to its thoughts.

For more:
- see this Blic article
- see the Telecompaper article

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