Bloomberg cites unconfirmed sources familiar with the situation as saying that Telefonica of Spain is teeing up the sale of its 69% holding in Czech incumbent Telefonica O2 CR, to raise funds for ‘further industry consolidation’. Three people who are said to have knowledge of the matter claim that Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale have been tasked with helping the Madrid-based giant find a buyer for its Czech holding, which is thought to have a valuation of around USD3.6 billion. The sources have asked to remain anonymous however, due to the confidential nature of the talks underway. If substantiated, the Czech operator could be a target for private equity groups or indeed a new market entrant, although it is unlikely that a bid from Deutsche Telekom or Vodafone Group would curry favour with local regulators – given both are already active in the market and the authorities are intent on driving competition there. Telefonica’s Czech business has been identified as a non-core asset to be sold and this latest development comes hard on the heels of the Spanish firm’s decision to offload its Irish division for EUR850 million (USD1.15 billion), and take control of KPN Telecom’s German business E-Plus in a potential EUR8.5 billion deal. Russian billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov and Czech counterpart Petr Kellner – owner of the PPF Group – have been identified as possible bidders for the Czech carrier. No one was available for comment when approached by Bloomberg.
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