French media group Vivendi Universal has reached agreement to sell its Vivendi Telecom Hungary unit to AIG Emerging Europe Infrastructure Fund (EEIF) – a private equity fund sponsored by American International Group (AIG) – and UK-based GMT Communications Partners. The parties involved have said they will not disclose the purchase price until the sale is finalised; the deal is expected to be closed by the end of February, pending the approval of the relevant Hungarian authorities and the signing of agreements with Vivendi Telecom Hungary’s creditors. The telco, Hungary’s second largest fixed line operator after national PTO Matav, claims to have a market share of approximately 12%. The company controls eight local fixed line telephone companies covering around 1.5 million of Hungary’s population of ten million. A spokesman for GMT Communications Partners has said that his company plans to strengthen Vivendi Telecom Hungary’s market position through further investment and/or acquisition, in the process taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the country’s liberalised telecommunications industry. He added that with further development Vivendi Telecom Hungary would be in strong position to become a leading broadband operator. There have been rumours that AIG and GMT are seeking to buy into PanTel, a subsidiary of Netherlands-based KPN which offers integrated VoIP and data transfer services through optical cables. AIG have quashed such speculation, however, saying there has never been any discussion regarding a PanTel acquisition.
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