News agencies are reporting that a planned meeting March 12 between Sisyphus (Kenneth Karlberg) of TeliaSonera, the half mother of Lattelecom and Latvian government officials has been cancelled.
Karlberg, currently head of TeliaSonera Mobility, had planned to meet with Minister of Economics Kaspars Gerhards and Minister of Transport Ainars Slesers to argue in favor of the modified proposal presented by TeliaSonera to buy the government's stakes in Lattelecom and mobile operator LMT.
In other words, the rock has rolled back down again, just as in the Greek myth. Some say that the futile attempts to break down the bizarrely- (non) argued resistance of the Latvian government have become an obsession for TeliaSonera, a need for the Swedish group to prove that it can get something done (after, not without struggles, getting control of both fixed and mobile telcos in Estonia and Lithuania).
Slesers is said to favor a deal where TeliaSonera would sell its stake in Lattelecom to The Blackstone Group. However, this plan B is already dead in the water with one essential element missing -- Lattelecom CEO Nils Melngailis has resigned. The fact that some other key staff, unsurprisingly, his press secretary Maija Celmina, are leaving indicates that this film will not be rewound.
There will be another indecision point for the government on March 18. It looks like the wise men and women running the country have made the decision by indecision to let Lattelecom drift toward the devil's mother (pie velna mātes), at the same time driving off a giant American investor (who is, to be sure, experiencing some financial pain from what is happening on the markets) with all that implies for the image of Latvia's investment climate.
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It seems Sisyphus did meet with Minister of Transport Ainars Slesers today, contrary to the muddled disinformation spread by, alas, my own news agency LETA. I may be able to get more info on what they discussed on March 13, when Kenneth Karlberg is back in Stockholm, doing exercises for his next run up that hill with the big rock.
My guess is that Slesers verbally told Sisyphus to work something out with Blackstone, but then Blackstone is all but officially out of the picture.