Telekom Austria wins regulatory approval for Macedonia merger

Telekom Austria Group said the Macedonian Commission for Protection of Competition has approved the merger of its subsidiary Vip Operator with Telekom Slovenije's subsidiary One to create a new entity called one.Vip on the mobile market in the Republic of Macedonia.

The Austrian incumbent, now almost 60 per cent owned by Mexico's América Móvil, said the approval is based on certain conditions, such as the commitment by the merged entity to offer network access to mobile network virtual operators (MVNOs). The transaction expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2015, and will bring together the market's second- (Vip) and third-largest (One) mobile operators.

Telekom Austria said it will hold 55 per cent and have sole control over the newly created entity, whereas Telekom Slovenije Group will hold 45 per cent and have the option to exit the joint venture within three years of closing.

The Austrian group reached an agreement with Telekom Slovenije to merge the companies' respective Macedonian businesses in October 2014. The move will enable Telekom Austria to create a converged operator in the market; it also owns fixed-line provider blizoo Macedonia. Indeed, the joint venture partners confirmed that they plan to combine mobile and TV offers into convergent bundles.

Like many of its peers in Europe, fixed-mobile convergence is a key strategy of Telekom Austria. Indeed, the operator is snapping up more fixed-line operations in Central and Eastern Europe after agreeing to buy Amis Slovenia and Amis Croatia in June.

The group now owns a mix of fixed and mobile operations in Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Liechtenstein and Slovenia. In April, the company also unveiled plans to merge its Serbian and Slovenian businesses into one unit, with Croatia and Macedonia forming a separate second division.

Meanwhile Hannes Ametsreiter resigned from his position as CEO of the Telekom Austria group in June, and has since confirmed that he will be taking up the role of CEO at Vodafone Germany. His successor at the Austrian group has not yet been named. Should no successor be appointed to fulfil the role before the end of July, deputy CEO Alejandro Plater would take over in the interim period, Reuters noted previously.

Former CTO Günther Ottendorfer left the company in March. Alejandro Plater was appointed COO at the same time.

For more:
- see this Telekom Austria release

Related articles:
Hannes Ametsreiter quits as Telekom Austria CEO; successor not yet named
Telekom Austria to buy fixed operations in Slovenia and Croatia
Telekom Austria brings SE Europe management in line with América Móvil model
Telekom Austria more than doubles Q1 profit as revenue declines slow
Telekom Austria reports strong Q3 results, agrees Macedonia merger

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