Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The half-mother taken aback

I get the impression that TeliaSonera, the half-mother of Lattelecom, has been taken aback by the apparent failure of to get a resolution, any resolution, of its efforts to acquire 100 % in at least Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT). Instead of pressing ahead with a deal, the Latvian government is m(or is there a better letter?)ucking around with variations, alternatives and hesitations that essentially take everything back to square 1.
I think the Swedes are wondering what to do now. They seemed to have come very far:
1) accepting the fact that the government would never let them have Lattelecom and being prepared to trade their 49 % of Lattelecom for the true prize, LMT.
2) making an appraisal of both companies.
3) getting ready to sit down and discuss:
a) how to reconcile two somewhat (but not insurmountably) different appraisal values
b) how to set a price
c) how and when to do the deal.

I think the half-mother has gotten used to Latvian weirdness when the government let lapse a LVL 9 million offer in 2004 to be paid by TeliaSonera to make a deal, any deal, by year end. It will soon be three years. But at some point, TeliaSonera may start wondering how far it is from having a huge stranded investment in at least one of its Latvian companies. What else can you consider it if nothing happens and the goal posts are uprooted just as one team approaches the goal?
Lattelecom, for its part, would probably not mourn the departure of the Swedes. well, not very deeply. They believe that TeliaSonera is sometimes slower to make decisions at a time when corporate strategy may have to be reviewed on a quarterly basis. At the same time, Lattelecom would probably prefer the Swedes as owners to being wholly owned by politicized domestic crazies, which, given the way things are run in Latvia, is a real possibility.
As I have already written, the new non-socialist government in Sweden is set on fully privatizing TeliaSonera and a number of other state holdings, so the half-mother should be looking over her shoulder as well as at developments in Latvia. Any number of huge beasts could be looking to eat up the cash-fat medium sized fish that TeliaSonera is, by global comparison.

No comments: