PPF sets sights on Telefonica Czech unit -report

PRAGUE Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:27am EST

PRAGUE Jan 14 (Reuters) - Investment group PPF, owned by Czech magnate Petr Kellner, is aiming to buy the Czech unit of Telefonica, but attempts have so far failed due to the price offered, weekly magazine Euro reported on Monday.

A PPF spokesman declined to comment on the Euro report, which cited a person familiar with PPF's plans.

"We do not comment on market speculation," spokesman Radek Stavel said in an email.

A spokesman for Telefonica Czech Republic, the local unit of the Spanish telecom, also would not comment.

PPF last week agreed the sale of its 49 percent stake in an insurance joint venture to Italian insurer Generali for 2.5 billion euros ($3.3 billion).

Czech media have speculated on what PPF could do with the cash. PPF is already trying to get into the domestic telecom market by bidding in a tender for the sale of frequencies for fourth-generation mobile telephone networks.

Euro reported that PPF has looked at the other two dominant Czech operators T-Mobile and Vodafone, but that its current goal was Telefonica Czech Republic because the Spanish parent was looking to lower its debt.

It said the price for Telefonica Czech Republic could near 100 billion crowns ($5.21 billion).

Telefonica Czech Republic shares closed in Prague on Friday at 326 crowns, giving the company a $5.4 billion market capitalisation.

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