UPDATE 1-Greek telco OTE offers to buy rival Forthnet's pay TV unit

Tue Jul 1, 2014 3:00am EDT

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ATHENS, July 1 (Reuters) - Greek telecoms company OTE said on Tuesday it had submitted a non-binding offer of 250 million to 300 million euros to acquire rival Forthnet's pay TV operations.

OTE had been in talks with the main shareholder of its small rival Forthnet about the acquisition. The move comes weeks after its biggest domestic rival Vodafone acquired an option to increase its 6.5 percent stake in Forthnet to 19.75 percent.

Gaining control of Forthnet's pay-TV business Nova would help either OTE or Vodafone boost their market share and squeeze more revenue from customers.

"OTE's non-binding offer is within the range of 250-300 million euros on a debt-free, cash-free basis of the Nova pay TV operations. In the event that an agreement is reached, it will be subject to clearance from competent authorities," OTE said.

Barclays is OTE's financial adviser on the deal.

OTE, a former monopoly and currently 40-percent-owned and managed by Deutsche Telekom, is betting on high-speed internet and subscription television services as a way to stop losing telephone service clients to cheaper rivals.

"OTE sees significant growth potential for Greek pay TV services, to the benefit of consumers. The intended agreement will be beneficial to al involved parties and is consistent with the group's strategic priorities," OTE said.

(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; editing by Jason Neely and Sophie Walker)

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