Sawiris looks to tighten grip on Greek market

Industry insiders are predicting Weather, the investment firm that owns Orascom Telecom, will announce details of the acquisition of Greece’s third largest cellco in the coming days.

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By  Christopher Reynolds Published  February 7, 2007

Orascom owner Naguib Sawiris is close to closing a US$4.4 billion deal to acquire Greek mobile operator Tim Hellas, according to speculative reports. Industry insiders are predicting Weather, the investment firm that owns Orascom Telecom, will announce details of the acquisition of Greece’s third largest cellco in the coming days. It also is believed that Q-Telecom - Greece’s fourth largest mobile operator - owned by Texas Pacific Group and UK-based Apax, the private equity firms behind Tim Hellas, will also be included in the deal. In 2005 Weather acquired Italy’s third-largest mobile operator Wind, for US$15.1 billion. This deal gave Sawiris a foothold in Greece as Wind has a 50% share in Tellas, one of the country’s fixed-line and internet service providers. Orascom operates GSM networks in Algeria (OTA), Pakistan (Mobilink), Egypt (Mobinil), Tunisia (Tunisiana), Iraq (Iraqna), Bangladesh (Banglalink), and Zimbabwe (Telecel Zimbabwe). The operator had over 50 million subscribers as at December 2006, and owns 19.3% of Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited, a telecoms services provider operating in eight countries.

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