Well, I am back in Riga, but not my luggage (delay in Amsterdam) nor a bag of Target purchases (left at my parents' house).
The news I missed (but anticipated) was the sale of the Bite Group for EUR 450 million to Mid Europa Partners, a private equity group. They are sufficiently transparent so that one can see they have experience in managing telecom assets. That's good news, also a signal that telecoms are of considerable interest to those who make money with their money (private equity) rather than put their money into just telecoms for one reason or another. In other words, the sector is looking bright again.
Not so bright, or non-existant are the chances that Lattelecom could acquire a mobile operator. It was in talks about Bite, but -- probably wisely-- decided not to try to outbid the private equity folks. That leaves Lattelecom with the alternative of joining the merry bunch of virtual operators (I see Telekomunikaciju Grupa -- TG-- has joined the party) mostly hosted on Bite's network.
Next interesting question -- what will happen to the (temporary?) half-mother of Lattelecom, TeliaSonera. The recent boardroom changes reported in the Swedish press are interpreted as foreboding changes in top management, perhaps ahead of a sale of most or all of the remaining state shares in TeliaSonera. The insatiable private equity funds will be out there waiting, I am sure.
Sweden's Dagens Nyheter calls the January 17 changes in TeliaSonera's boardroom "the most brutal in Swedish corporate history. Board members Carl Bennet, Eva Liljebom, Lennart Låftman, Lars-Erik Nilsson and Sven-Christer Nilsson were voted out and replaced on smaller board by Lars G Nordström, Conny Karlsson, Maija-Liisa Friman and Jan Risfelt. The move is seen by analysts as a purge of board members seen as close to the Social Democratic movement and, thereby, opposed to complete privatization of the company. A sell-off of TeliaSonera has been in the cards since the non-socialist government was formed in the fall of 2006.