The Slovenian state investment fund SDH has received a binding bid for its 73% stake in Telekom Slovenije from UK private equity firm Cinven.
The firm has not revealed how much it intends to bid, although previous reports claimed that Cinven and Deutsche Telekom were planning to lodge rival bids of around €110 ($117) per share for Telekom Slovenije. The German operator did not present an offer.
If the bid succeeds, Cinven has stated that it will upgrade the operator’s network “significantly” with the goal of reversing its falling revenues and boosting its 4G coverage to reach 90% of the population. Cinven’s growth strategy will begin with investment in Telekom Slovenije’s infrastructure, but it has also emphasised that it will concentrate on improving customer care.
Cinven claims that it wants the operator to become a “Slovenian champion”, keeping it as an independent local firm while augmenting the quality of its services.
Telekom Slovenije leads Slovenia’s mobile market, as well as being the dominant fixed-line provider. At the end of the first quarter it had around 1.15 million connections, giving it a market share of 52%. Its estimated value is $760 million.
In 2013, 15 Slovenian state-owned firms were lined up for privatisation with the aim of reducing public debt. Telekom Slovenije is the largest of these. The government has asserted that it will not sell the operator if it considers the bid to be too low – a situation which previously occurred in 2008.