Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Another death knell rings for the Lattelecom MBO

Sorry, folks, for being a bit behind on this, but the outgoing Latvian government on December 18 decided not to extent the memorandum of understanding with Lattelecom, The Blackstone Group and the bank consortium and TeliaSonera regarding the management and staff buy-out proposed by Lattelecom CEO Nils Melngailis.
The issue will be decided by "the next government", in effect, the present government 2.0 (shaken and stirred a bit), where attitudes and opinions are unlikely to change.
My call -- the whole thing will be muddled around until 1) Blackstone backs off and the consortium falls apart 2) Melngailis resigns. At the end of a day lasting 2-3 years, we may see TeliaSonera at last collecting what it has been waiting for -- both Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) and whatever is left of Lattelecom.
An outside chance is that the new government will organize (after a decent interval) some kind of MBO or sell-off 2.0 that will have the "right" bidders, including local interests. Though it is strange to bleed something half to death just to get your claws into it...

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