Macedonia’s Commission for Protection of Competition has granted its conditional approval for the sale of Telekom Slovenije’s domestic unit ONE to Telekom Austria, in a move that could pave the way for completion of the privatisation of the Slovenian parent. The regulator’s approval of the merger between ONE and Telekom Austria’s local subsidiary – Vip Operator – is conditional upon the full implementation of a commitments package submitted by the two companies, including the provision of mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) access to interested parties.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in January 2015 Vip Operator and ONE inked an agreement to merge their operations, subject to regulatory approval. The conclusion of the merger agreement is in line with a ‘Shareholders and Implementation Agreement’ signed on 22 October 2014, under which Telekom Austria will hold a 55% stake and have sole control of the newly created entity, while Telekom Slovenije will hold the remaining 45%.
Meanwhile, in June 2015 UK-based private equity firm Cinven altered the terms of its original 20 May binding offer for Telekom Slovenije to take into account the uncertainties surrounding the ongoing merger of ONE and its local rival Vip. Cinven wanted to defer some of its payment for Telekom Slovenije until the Macedonian deal had been cleared by regulators, but Slovenian state firm SDH (which is coordinating the sale of Telekom Slovenije) said the altered terms were ‘too big a risk’. Cinven claims it will revisit the Telekom deal once the situation in Macedonia is resolved.