A delegation from TeliaSonera, the half-mother of Lattelecom, will meet with the Latvian government on July 26 to, in all likelihood, start working out the details of the management/staff buyout of the Latvian fixed-network operator.
The delegation will be headed by Kenneth Karlberg, currently head of TeliaSonera's Mobility business area, but formerly (before the switch from regional to services-based organization) in charge of business in the Baltics. For Kenneth, it will be the beginning of the end of a seemingly neverending story that started in 2003, when TeliaSonera first declared its interest in buying all of Lattelecom and Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT). Now, as a corollary to the Lattelecom MBO, Kenneth will be getting 100 % of LMT. LMT will be integrated into TeliaSonera's regional mobile strategy, but there are some things to learn from the Latvian subsidiary, which was first to launch HSDPA mobile broadband, something even Telia Mobil still doesn't offer (?).
The July 26 meeting, presumably, will be to discuss the choreography of how each partner will waive first refusal rights on the other's holdings in Lattelecom and LMT, as well as on how to divest the 23 % of LMT formally owned by Lattelecom.
At the same time, people from Lazard Freres are busily doing due diligence at Lattelecom so as to present the company to potential financiers of the MBO. CEO Nils Melngailis is in London talking to banks and private equity companies.
Look for Lattelecom to strengthen its senior staff in the next few weeks as the company prepares to become a small independent player, without the backing of its ex-half mother. I will mourn having to discard that favorite bizarre term:).