Italian banking group UniCredit acquired a stake of almost 6 per cent in O2 Czech Republic, after buying shares from investors unable to sell their stock as part of a recent buyout offer.
The transaction means that UniCredit is the second-largest shareholder in the telecoms company after Czech financial group PPF. No reason was given for the deal in the regulatory filing.
PPF acquired a 65.9 per cent stake in O2 Czech Republic from Telefonica at the beginning of the year and increased its stake to 73.1 per cent after launching a buyout offer for minority shareholders.
However, PPF rejected around half of the requests received from shareholders to buy their shares due to “formal shortcomings” — leaving the way open for UniCredit.
PPF was reported last week to be considering whether to split O2 into separate mobile and fixed businesses, in order to reduce the regulatory scrutiny it is subject to due to its dominance in the fixed market.
A spokesman told Reuters that a final decision had not yet been made by PPF.
Another interesting development at O2 Czech Republic is a LTE network-sharing deal with Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile struck in May, which the companies claimed will enable a quicker 4G rollout than stipulated by the conditions of the spectrum auction.