OTE receives at least two bids for Bulgarian unit, sources say

Greek telecoms operator OTE has received at least two bids for its Bulgarian unit Globul, expected to fetch as much as 700 million euros ($912.94 million), but will ask for improved offers before it decides to sell or not, sources familiar with the process said on Thursday.

Turkey’s telecoms company Turk Telekom said it had placed a binding bid.

Deutsche Telekom, which has a 40 percent stake in OTE, has also bid, a source familiar with the process said. The company declined to comment.

Norway’s Telenor, which had expressed interest in the sale, declined to comment whether it had placed a bid.

OTE announced plans to sell Globul, Bulgaria’s second- biggest mobile operator, last year as part of its efforts to refinance 1.6 billion euros of debt by early 2014 and the deadline for bids expired on Wednesday.

The other prospective bidder, Turkey’s mobile phone operator Turkcell, had not filed an offer by Wednesday, a separate source close to the process said.

As it is a private sale, deadlines are not firmly set and attractive offers can be accepted by a later date, but the source said the Turkcell board has not taken a decision on Globul and it is very unlikely to make a binding bid at this stage.

Turkcell is currently at the centre of a legal battle for control by its partners, Turkey’s Cukurova Holding, Nordic telecoms group TeliaSonera and Russia’s Altimo.

On Thursday, sources directly involved with the Globul sale process who declined to be named said that bidders will be called next week to improve their offers and then, based on the final price, OTE will decide whether to sell or not.

In March OTE Chief Executive Michael Tsamaz said OTE might decide not to sell, after it secured 700 million euros through a bond issue and sold its satellite unit Hellas SAT for 208 million euros.

In Bulgaria, Globul competes with Telekom Austria Mobiltel and Vivacom, controlled by a Bulgarian banker and Russia’s VTB Bank.


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