Deutsche Telekom (DT) yesterday secured official approval ‘without conditions’ from the European Commission (EC) for its acquisition of GTS Central Europe, first announced in November 2013. The transaction is expected to close in the next few weeks and will see the German giant strengthening its position in the international business-to-business (B2B) and wholesale segments. Commenting on the news, Claudia Nemat, board member for Europe and Technology at DT, said: ‘We are pleased that we can now close the transaction and start the integration of GTS. It fits perfectly into our strategy of building a pan-European network and strengthens our position with business and multinational customers. Moreover, it will enable us to offer all of our wholesale customers competitive, high-quality services.’
In November last year, DT signed a deal to purchase Warsaw-based GTS Central Europe in a move that it said would enable it to add fixed line networks in several countries where its operations are primarily based on wireless services. DT reportedly agreed to acquire the alternative operator for EUR546 million (USD754 million) from a number of private equity groups including Columbia Capital, HarbourVest Partners, Innova Capital and M/C Partners. GTS Central Europe is one of the top infrastructure-based telecommunications service providers in central and eastern Europe including a strong portfolio of services focused on a total of more than 35,000 business customers in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. In 2013 the altnet achieved revenues of EUR337 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of EUR88 million pro-forma excluding the Slovak assets, which will be retained by the sellers as part of the transaction.