Hungary raises interest in Yettel in exchange for boosting 4iG’s Vodafone stake

Hungarian state raises interest in Yettel in exchange for boosting 4iG’s Vodafone stake

Hungary’s state-owned investment vehicle Corvinus International Investment has obtained indirect minority stakes in both the mobile operator Yettel Hungary and its infrastructure unit CETIN Hungary.

The move is indicative of the Hungarian government’s drive to increase its influence in – or indeed over – the country’s telecoms sector. A statement published on the government’s website asserted that increased state involvement in telecoms would deliver an economic boost to Hungary, strengthen its position on the global stage, and prove beneficial for consumers.

The acquisition results from a share-swap deal, with 4iG subsidiary Antenna Hungary relinquishing its 25% stakes in both Yettel and CETIN in exchange for Corvinus reducing its stake in Vodafone Hungary from 49% to 29.5%. This 19.5% holding has been transferred to Antenna, giving the company a 70.5% majority holding in Vodafone Hungary with the right to delegate five of the operator’s seven board members.

As a result, Antenna no longer holds any shares in Yettel Hungary or CETIN Hungary. The remaining 75% in each firm is held respectively by PPF Telecom Group and its subsidiary CETIN Group. 4iG CEO Peter Fekete claimed that the deal would “strengthen the efficiency of integration” across the group’s portfolio, which includes the quad-play provider DIGI Hungary.

4iG partnered with Corvinus to take over 100% of the shares in Vodafone Hungary from the UK’s Vodafone Group in January 2023. TeleGeography reports that Government Decree 2/2023 exempted the deal from antimonopoly regulation on the grounds that it was of “national strategic significance.”

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