The Serbian government has rejected all six bids for its 58.11% stake in fixed line incumbent Telekom Srbija after the offers fell short of the state’s valuation of the operator. Local news agency Tanjug cites Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic as saying that the government’s decision was unanimous, despite at least one of the offers coming close to the amount that the government saw as acceptable. Mr Vucic had previously warned that the government would not sell its stake in the telco unless it got the right price for the shares, valuing the holding at around EUR1.4 billion (USD1.54 billion). Commenting on the bids, the PM noted that a US-based investment firm had submitted the highest offer; Mobile World Live reported that Apollo Global Management was the highest bidder with an offer of EUR1.2 billion, but did not cite its source.
With the operator remaining in state hands, Telekom Srbija will be restructured over the coming months, Mr Vucic added, although the precise nature of the reorganisation has not been disclosed. It was confirmed, however, that the operator would gradually downsize its workforce over the next four years. The move was welcomed by the telco’s union, which noted that cutbacks would have been worse under a new owner, adding that many employees had already taken voluntary early retirement.