Egypt's Orascom looking at Telekom Austria

Deal possibly structured as merger in which Austrian gov't retains 28% stake, says paper.

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By  Boris Groendahl Published  September 8, 2008

Egyptian telecoms operator Orascom is looking at buying Telekom Austria and has been in touch with the company and the Austrian government, its main shareholder, a newspaper reported on Monday.

Austrian daily Kurier said the deal could be structured as a merger of Orascom Telecom and Telekom Austria under which Austria's government holding company OeIAG would keep a stake in the merged company.

OeIAG and Telekom Austria were not immediately available for a comment.

The report said Orascom was looking at working with private equity group Weather Investments for financing.

Weather Investments spokesman Stefano Songini said he could not comment on whether talks about Telekom Austria had taken place. He said that in general Weather Investments had been talking "a number of large telecom operators."

OeIAG owns 28 percent of Telekom Austria on behalf of the government and would need approval for a sale of the stake.

Orascom owns telecom operators in Africa and the Mediterranean, including Italy and Greece, and is seeking further expansion opportunities.

Telekom Austria Chief Executive Boris Nemsic said in an interview last month he was "open but neutral" on possible "strategic partnerships" with other telecoms operators. (Reuters)

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