* Now holds 97.58 pct of Estonian operator Eesti Telekom
* Stake in Lithuanian operator TEO LT now at 68.08 pct
* Part of strategy to boost control of core holdings
(Adds TEO LT stake increase)
TALLINN/VILNIUS, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The Nordic region’s biggest telecoms group, TeliaSonera TLSN.ST, said it had secured near full ownership of Estonia’s Eesti Telekom ETLAT.TL and two thirds of votes in Lithuanian TEO LT TEO1L.VL after separate buy out bids.
TeliaSonera said on Tuesday its stake in Eesti Telekom was now 97.58 percent. Under a separate offer made for TEO LT, it said it raised its voting rights to 68.08 percent from 62 percent and share ownership to 64.9 percent from 60 percent.
Both were cash offers made as part of TeliaSonera’s plans to consolidate its affiliates.
“Our strategy is to increase our ownership in our core holdings and this was achieved both in TEO LT and Eesti Telekom,” Per-Arne Blomquist, the chief financial officer of TeliaSonera, said in a statement.
TeliaSonera said it would now start a squeeze-out process to mop up the remaining shares in Eesti Telekom.
In August, TeliaSonera offered 93.00 Estonian kroons ($8.77) in cash for the 40 percent of shares in Eesti Telekom it did not already own. Telia said it would also pay an additional dividend to shareholders who accepted the cash offer.
The Estonian government, trying to keep its budget deficit under control, agreed to sell its 27 percent stake.
“Our offer was obviously more successful in Estonia as we did not get as far in Lithuania, which is partly due to a different shareholder structure,” he added.
In Lithuania, TeliaSonera bid 1.83 litas ($0.783) a share in a buy out worth 1.56 billion Swedish crowns ($223.6 million). TEO shares were trading unchanged at 1.87 litas by 0728 GMT.
The state had less than 1 percent of the telecoms group while other small shareholders had a combined stake of around 34 percent before the offer was announced.
TeliaSonera said it had increased its ownership in TEO LT by 14 percent of the pre-announcement free float, or 5.14 percent of the total voting rights in TEO LT.
“Still we managed to increase our ownership which is very positive. Moreover, passing the threshold of two-thirds of the votes in the company, increases our influence, which is to the benefit of TEO LT,” Blomquist added.
($1=2.336 Lithuanian Litas)
(Reporting by David Mardiste and Nerijus Adomaitis in Vilnius; editing by Simon Jessop)
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