RBC Daily writes that Russia’s Sistema Group is considering developing its European business with a bid to take over state-backed operator Telekom Srbija. Sistema Vladimir Yevtushenko was quoted as saying that the group was ‘analysing the opportunity’ and ‘will decide in the near future.’ Yevtushenko added that the Serbian telco was not the only asset that Sistema was investigating, but provided no other details.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the government has long sought to raise funds for the telco through the sale of a stake. An attempt to launch an initial public offering (IPO) in 2007 was blocked by Greece’s OTE, which held a 20% share of Telekom at that date. In 2010, the government announced plans to sell a 40% stake in the telco – later boosted to 51% – with a further 15% floated on the local bourse and 5% handed to employees and former employees. Telekom Austria emerged in March 2011 as the sole bidder but failed to acquire the company after its offer fell short of expectations. The Serbian government changed tack in November 2011, negotiating the acquisition of OTE’s stake in the company for EUR380 million (USD493.6 million), completing the transaction in January 2012.