To date nine companies have formally expressed an interest in acquiring a majority stake in the Czech PTO Cesky Telecom. According to reports from AFX News, five European telcos – namely Denmark’s TDC, TeliaSonera, Vodafone, Telefonica and Swisscom – have made their interest known, in addition to four financial institutions.
In December the Czech government agreed to allow telecoms companies to form bidding partnerships with investment groups, in the hope that it would allow telcos to present more attractive offers. The government also agreed to speed up the tender process, with preliminary bids now due in by 21 January. A shortlist of acceptable offers will then be drawn up, after which the companies involved will have around six weeks to submit their final bids. The winning bidder is expected to be announced at the end of March.
The government has also installed a safety net into proceedings by deeming that if none of the preliminary offers proves to be attractive, it will end the bidding process and go ahead with a stock market flotation in April. This ‘dual-track’ approach has been criticised by Czech brokerage firms which are keen to see a straightforward flotation. The government is hoping to raise up to CZK60 billion (EUR1.94 billion) from the sale.