Maris Zanders, a journalist colleague at LETA reports in his TV24 program and on his (as yet) not public blog a rumor that bankers Lazard have been asked to assist in the sale of the Bite Group to what he calls a Spanish investor TPSA. I think something has been mixed up, as the only telecoms company with that acronym is Telekomunikacja Polska S.A (TPSA), the Polish fixed network and mobile (Orange) operator. Their web page hasn't heard of English, so what, exactly, the company does remains a mystery :).
TDC, the Danish telecoms group owned by a private equity consortium, has long been rumored to be considering the sale of it so-called peripheral assets in the Baltic (this has been mentioned on the blog earlier). TPSA would be one natural partner, as Poland is next door to the Bite Group's biggest market, Lithuania (Bite started in Latvia in September 2005 and has only around 175 000 users). However, as this blog has reported, Lattelecom, which is about to loose its half-mother TeliaSonera in favor of Big Mother the government as well as its chilly ties with Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT), which will be taken over by the Swedes 100 %. So Lattelecom desperately needs a mobile strategy.
Even the rumor of interest by TPSA bodes ill or dear (in the sense of expensive) for Lattelecom, since there could be a bidding war for the companies should Bite actually be put on the selling block. We've already asserted (on good authority) that Lattelecom is very interested in buying Bite (or that is, at least, its plan A for going mobile). However, even without the Poles rumored to be coming in, Lattelecom should be increasingly worried about the closeness of Bite to the Vodafone group. I suspect Vodafone might be interested in buying Bite, especially after pulling out of Sweden and selling their business to Telenor, a partly state-owned company from fish-canning, oil-pumping Norway of all places :). And hey, let's not forget that the Norwegians are also expanding their European footprint. Is that an Ericsson or a herring you have pressed to your ear, Olav?