UPDATED 14/12: Serbia’s government rejected all six offers on the table for its majority stake in Telekom Srbija, with bidders reportedly failing to meet its valuation for the operator.
Reuters reports Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic confirmed the decision, which was due today, following reports suggesting ministers were at odds with the offers on the table.
Vucic had warned the government would not sell the stake unless its €1.4 billion valuation was met, and the company will now remain in state hands.
Six companies placed binding offers for the majority stake in November, which included a joint bid by Slovenia’s Telekom Slovenije and US private equity fund Apollo, as well as a bid from the Abu Dhabi investment authority.
The biggest bid reportedly came from the Apollo fund at €1.2 billion.
Telekom Srbija, Serbia’s largest operator, owns a majority stake in Bosnia’s Telekom Srpske and also controls Montenegro’s M:Tel.
Telekom Austria not interested
Following the decision, Telekom Austria’s CEO Alejandro Plater said a move for the Serbian operator was not on its agenda, reports Reuters.
The Austrian operator had a bid turned down for Telekom Srbija in 2011 and was again linked with a move this time round.
Despite stating that Telekom Austria wants to play a “key role” in European consolidation, Plater told Austrian daily Airtschaftsblatt that “Telekom Srbija was not among the projects that I presented to the owners.”
Telekom Austria is majority owned by Mexico’s America Movil.