Thursday, December 13, 2007

Two, three, many MBOs spooked TeliaSonera?

One of my sources tossed out this interesting theory of why TeliaSonera, while it agreed to the Lattelecom MBO, was also disturbed by it.
"They were thinking if Lattelecom can do it, so can other non-wholly-owned subsidiaries,"the source said. The Swedish company was worried that Elion and Estonian Mobile Telephone (EMT) (which it owns 59 % each) and TEO, the Lithuanian fixed-network and broadband operator, owned 60 % by TeliaSonera, could get subversive ideas.
I have never heard any such rumors from Estonia or Lithuania, but it is an interesting thought experiment. All four Elion, EMT, TEO break free and then join up in one pan-Baltic company, putting Humpty-MicroLink back together again in the process and making a small IT/nearshoring and data transmission powerhouse to sell services to eastern and western markets.
Would The Blackstone Group, in the process of being burned by the Latvian government, be interested in financing such a coup? After 6-8 years, a Balttelecom with customers in the Nordic countries, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus might fetch a good price should Blackstone or some other private equity consortium then want to exit.
Sorry, TeliaSonera, I didn't scare you for Halloween, so I'm doing it now :).

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