DT says OTE deal possible in 3 weeks

A deal on a new management scheme for OTE telecom is expected in the next three weeks, according to a senior official at Deutsche Telekom (DT), which recently agreed to buy an initial 20 percent stake in the Greek utility from a third party. In statements to the German edition of the Financial Times, Karl-Gerhard Eick, DT’s vice chairman and chief financial officer, said several issues remained open in the ongoing negotiations with the Greek government, including the allocation of senior executive posts. The three-week period coincides with the time frame initially set by DT for the completion of the agreement to buy the 20 percent stake from Greece’s biggest buyout firm, Marfin Investment Group (MIG). «If there is no agreement (with the government) there is no buyout deal,» Eick said. According to the report, the Greek government wants to cut its share of ownership from the current 28 percent to 20 percent, and DT wants to increase its share from the initially agreed 20 percent to up to 33 percent. The government, having long but unsuccessfully sought a European strategic partner for OTE, welcomed DT’s agreement to buy into the Greek utility. Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis had said Athens hoped the two sides would agree to share the management and hold equal ownership shares of about 25 percent. Eick yesterday said DT was aiming at the right to appoint OTE’s managing director. His statement comes at a critical moment in the negotiations, as pressures are mounting on both sides regarding a deal. Separately, OTE yesterday confirmed in a statement to the Capital Market Commission its intention to set up a real estate investment company (OTE Estate). It said the company’s initial start-up assets would be properties valued at at least -250 million.

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