PRAGUE Aug 19 The Czech arm of Italian bank
UniCredit has taken a nearly 6 percent stake in O2
Czech Republic by buying shares from investors who
were unable to sell their stock in the telecom group's recent
The purchase makes UniCredit the second-largest shareholder
of the Czech mobile and fixed-line operator behind majority
owner billionaire Petr Kellner's PPF Group. The Italian bank
owns 5.86 percent of O2 Czech Republic, according to a filing
with the Czech central bank.
"UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia purchased 17.48
million shares of O2 Czech Republic from investors, whose shares
were not accepted under the compulsory redemption," bank
spokesman Petr Plocek said.
Plocek declined to comment on why UniCredit had bought the
shares or on what it planned to do with the stake.
PPF acquired 65.9 percent in O2 Czech Republic from Spain's
Telefonica in January and launched a buyout offer for
minority shareholders at a price of 295.15 crowns ($14) per
share in May, raising its stake to 73.1 percent last month.
However PPF rejected around half the requests it received
from shareholders to buy their shares because of "formal
shortcomings," which it did not elaborate on at the time.
Shares in O2 Czech Republic traded flat on Tuesday at 297.80
(1 US dollar = 20.9580 Czech crown)
(Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Erica Billingham)