Thursday, September 15, 2005

Pigs Will Fly First

I have been engaged in a kind of dialogue with an outfit here in Latvia that wants to buy some of my time. They are a new research and consulting firm and one of their areas of study is Telia Sonera's efforts to buy both Lattelekom and Latvian Mobile Telephone. They are (in a virtual sense) circling the government working group on this matter like hawks (as do I as a journalist). However, since I am going away, I will make a pronouncement on how I see the sale of BOTH Lattelekom and LMT to TeliaSonera.


While the deliberations of the working group are confidential, the Latvian government has been signalling with all the subtlety of a 105 mm howitzer being fired outside your window that IT WILL NOT SELL Lattelekom to the same owner as LMT. PWFF!
What that means in practice is that TeliaSonera will get its prize, LMT, but without the wrapper. What happens to Lattelekom is that it will languish as a odd, small 100 % state owned telco until someone buys it for a song (TDC? Telefonica? God knows, maybe a Russian or Polish operator?). I wonder if the three-member boy band discussing the issue thought of the fact that when Lattelekom becomes a stand-alone wireline midget (you have 600 000 subs just in Cleveland or Dortmund or some place like that, with a higher potential revenue stream per subscriber ). That would be the ultimate irony -- Lattelekom goes on the bidding block, and it ends up with the Russians or the Chinese as the only bidders. Now I have not heard anything, I am just speculating, and I am not saying this is probable, just possible.
So these are some thoughts as I prepare to skip town for two weeks (starting September 17) in the US and Sweden, at Oracle and taking some "vacation". I will blog to the extent possible.
Certainly from San Francisco!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If Lattelekom will become a public company, it will be interested what this will mean to the MicroLink acquisition. That would mean MicroLink becoming a government IT company in Latvia. At the same time Lietuvos Telekomas and Elion would own MicroLink in other countries, and since being pan-Baltic is of importance to them, they would need to start up something separate in Latvia.

This should be fun to watch :-)