By Maria Kiselyova and Michael Shields
MOSCOW/VIENNA Oct 21 Vimpelcom is not
interested in buying a stake in Telekom Austria , a
source said on Friday, after a report that an investor group
planned to sell shares to the Russian telecoms group.
Austrian magazine Format reported, without citing sources,
that an investor group led by businessman Ronny Pecik planned to
sell a stake it was building in Telekom Austria to Vimpelcom and
its ally Turkcell .
It said Pecik and a group including Egyptian investor Naguib
Sawiris, who is a Vimpelcom shareholder, had secured control of
around 20 percent of Austria's flagship telecoms group, part of
which was parked with two banks in Switzerland.
"Pecik's plan is the step-by-step sale on to Russia's
Vimpelcom," the magazine said, adding the sales could take place
over 2-5 five years. Turkcell would also get Telekom Austria
shares under the plan, it said.
A source close to Vimpelcom told Reuters: "Vimpelcom is not
interested in and is not holding talks with any of the parties
about buying Telekom Austria shares", adding mergers and
acquisitions were not a priority for Vimpelcom, which was
focused on integrating existing assets.
A spokeswoman for Vimpelcom would not comment on the report.
Telekom Austria were up 3.6 percent to 8.38 euros by 1030
GMT, outperforming a 1.5 percent firmer Stoxx 600 European
telecoms index .
Its chief executive said his company was open for talks with
investors but dodged more detailed questions about whether a
particular party was quietly building a stake.
"New shareholders have come on board," Hannes Ametsreiter
told an investor conference. Asked whether he was worried about
any particular investors building stakes, he said: "We do not
want to discriminate against any shareholders".
Austrian state holding company OeIAG has a 28.4 percent
stake in Telekom Austria.
Pecik has declined to comment on reports about Telekom
Austria, which have supported its share price. He has secured
options via several companies to buy about 5.5 percent of
Telekom Austria, the company said on Monday.
Citing unnamed sources, daily Wirtschaftsblatt reported this
month Telekom Austria was preparing defences against a possible
takeover bid and would hire Merrill Lynch for advice.
The paper said Telekom Austria could widen its share buyback
programme or look for a "white knight" investor to fend off
unwanted advances, with Spanish group Telefonica ,
Vimpelcom, Norwegian operator Telenor and Turkcell seen
as likely contenders.