ECONOMY

Etisalat denies TIM bid

DUBAI (Reuters) – Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat) will decide next week on a bid for Greek mobile telephone operator TIM Hellas but denied on Saturday a report that it had offered to pay as much as 3.8 billion euros. A Dow Jones report, citing people familiar with the matter, said on Friday that Etisalat had offered about 3.8 billion euros ($4.93 billion) for TIM Hellas, the third-largest mobile operator in Greece, which is owned by two private equity groups. «It will be definitely less than that. That level is unheard of,» Jamal al-Jarwan, Etisalat’s general manager of international business, told Reuters. Etisalat’s international investment committee will decide on its bid in the coming week after conducting due diligence over the past month, Jarwan said. The deadline for binding offers is November 30, he said. «We haven’t offered anything yet and we will offer the right price for the market,» Etisalat Chief Executive Mohammed al-Qamzi told Reuters. Etisalat submitted a non-binding bid for the license earlier, Jarwan said. «But $5 billion is completely wrong; we completely deny it. It (the non-binding bid) was significantly less,» Jarwan said. Etisalat has a reputation for aggressive bidding. It led a consortium that paid $2.9 billion for the third mobile phone license in Egypt in the summer, almost 20 percent above the second-highest offer.