Swisscom sells Antenna Hungaria to TDF
Wednesday, May 9th, 2007
Switzerland’s top telecommunications group Swisscom said today that it had agreed to sell Hungarian cable and satellite operator Antenna Hungaria, which it purchased less than two years ago, to TDF of France. Swisscom said that the sale price would be 540 million Swiss francs (327 million euros, US$445 million), marking a substantial profit over the 392 million Swiss francs it paid for the Hungarian firm in October 2005. The deal is subject to approval by Hungary’s competition authority.
Swisscom said it was selling Antenna because it had been unable to purchase other broadcasting businesses in central and Eastern Europe as initially planned. In December 2005, the Swiss government - which currently holds about 53 percent of the group - imposed restrictions on Swisscom’s expansion abroad until it divests its majority stake. They include a strict debt limit of five billion Swiss francs (3.2 billion euros, US$3.9 billion) on new investments. However, Swiss lawmakers have so far blocked plans to privatise the group, arguing that it could lead to the erosion of telecoms services in less profitable rural and mountain areas in Switzerland.
Swisscom said the proceeds from the deal with TDF would help finance its 3.7 billion euro (US$4.9 billion) friendly takeover bid for Italian broadband provider Fastweb.
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