The Telsource consortium, which comprises KPN and Swisscom, has finalised the sale of its 27% stake in Czech incumbent Cesky Telecom to institutional investors for USD826 million, paving the way for the possible privatisation of the state-controlled PTO next year. The government currently holds 51% of the operator, which has over 3.6 million fixed lines in service and offers mobile services through its Eurotel Prague subsidiary; the cellco had over 3.95 million subscribers in mid-2003. The consortium went ahead with the sale despite efforts from the government – Cesky’s largest shareholder – to hinder the process by refusing to release commercial information on the operator to potential buyers. The sale proceeds represent just half the USD1.46 billion KPN and Swisscom paid in the partial privatisation of Cesky Telecom in 1995.
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