Sweden’s TeliaSonera has secured near full ownership of Estonia’s Eesti Telekom and two-thirds of votes in Lithuanian fixed-line operator TEO LT after separate buy-out bids. TeliaSonera said today its stake in Eesti Telekom is now 97.58 percent. TeliaSonera said it would now start a squeeze-out process to mop up the remaining shares in Eesti. Meanwhile under a separate offer made for TEO LT, it said it raised its voting rights to 68.08 per cent from 62 per cent and share ownership to 64.9 per cent from 60 per cent. Both were cash offers made as part of TeliaSonera’s plans to consolidate its affiliates.
“Our strategy is to increase our ownership in our core holdings and this was achieved both in TEO LT and Eesti Telekom,” said Per-Arne Blomquist, EVP and CFO of TeliaSonera, in a statement. “Our offer was obviously more successful in Estonia as we did not get as far in Lithuania, which is partly due to a different shareholder structure.” TeliaSonera is the Nordic region’s biggest telecoms group and operates in 20 countries across Europe and Asia. According to Wireless Intelligence data, Eesti’s mobile arm – EMT – is the largest mobile operator in Estonia and had 746,000 connections by end of 2Q09. Its competitors include Tele2 (456,000 connections) and Finland’s Elisa (346,000).