Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Government non-decision likely on Lattelecom

The Latvian government will take up the issue of Lattelecom's privatization today March 11, but will very likely reach no decision, according to press reports.
Diena's Baiba Rulle writes that no decision will be reached. while a letter may be written to The Blackstone Group indicating that its request to buy the 49 % of Lattelecom held by TeliaSonera is something to discuss with TeliaSonera. This ignores the fact that the government has a right of first refusal to the stake that it must formally waive.
Also, it is avoiding the issue of Nils Melngailis continuing as CEO, something that Blackstone has politely insisted on, at least between the lines of its most recent letter. As it looks now, Melngailis is resigned to resigning (he is vacationing, not likely to return, probably will do some consulting for the new honcho to smooth transition). So I say Blackstone is out of the picture and the whole process, in all probability, is going nowhere, as before. But it is going nowhere with no one really at the wheel anymore...
I wrote earlier that a working group would consider TeliaSonera's latest offer to split Lattelecom into a wholesale and a retail unit and buy the remaining government stakes in the fixed network operator and mobile operator LMT for LVL 500 million. Now it appears the government will examine this offer directly today rather than on March 18, as it would have, had the working group examined it March 12. It may still do so, since the Swedish Sisyphus, Kenneth Karlberg, the head of TeliaSonera Mobility, is coming on March 12 to roll the rock...I mean, present his case again.
Going to a TeliaSonera lunch with some honcho presenting on how the wholesale-retail split would work, so I may be able to report some more late.


Bleveland said...

At first this article might seem to be somewhat of an off-topic (in relation to this post). Just click and read it and you probably will reconsider:
Al Capone Might Feel at Home in Latvia


Anonymous said...

This is typical TeliaSonera style game, whatever the scenario is it will end up with the same mafia controlling whole country's infrastructure. When they wanted to by Omnitel's shares the Competition Conceal required that they can not mix this the mobile business with anything else. Today we can witness how they are following this rule: mafia arranged public procurements are specifically "DESIGNED" for TeliaSonera owned omnitel (Vilnius) and sk (Tallin). Business runs much easier if you do it under one single umbrella even it's mafia controlled.