Austrian telecoms incumbent Telekom Austria has been linked with a €1 billion ($1.3 billion) bid for cable company Serbia Broadband in a report from Bloomberg.
Citing sources familiar with the proceedings, Bloomberg says that Telekom Austria (Vienna, Austria) has re-entered bidding for the Serbian company, after dropping off a list of companies examining Serbia Broadband’s (Belgrade, Serbia) books, with other interested parties said to include Providence Equity Partners, Cinven Advisers and Altice Finco.
Telekom Austria owns a variety of fixed-line and mobile-phone assets in central and eastern Europe and might see a takeover of Serbia Broadband as a means of bolstering its position in the region.
Vip mobile, Telekom Austria’s Serbian mobile subsidiary, reported a 16.9% increase in revenue for the three months to end June, to €44.7 million, compared with the same period of 2012, with earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) up by 38%, to €15.8 million, over the same period.
The subsidiary also grew its market share from 16.5% to 20.6% and might look to a fixed-line takeover as a way of further improving its competitive position.
Owned by Mid Europa Partners, Serbia Broadband is one of Serbia’s biggest providers of cable television and broadband services and could fetch as much as ten times its annualized EBITDA, according to sources cited by Bloomberg.
But as operators increasingly focus on the provision of multi-play services – bundling fixed, broadband, television and mobile services under one tariff – Telekom Austria may feel the price is worth paying.
The Austrian incumbent is 23% owned by America Movil (Mexico City, Mexico), the Latin American telecoms giant controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, and recently struck a deal to collaborate on the rollout of fiber networks with Dutch incumbent KPN (The Hague, Netherlands), in which America Movil holds a 30% stake.
Meanwhile, America Movil has unveiled plans for a €7.2 billion takeover of KPN, fuelling speculation that it may also try to increase its stake in Telekom Austria.