Eight bidders for Czech Telecom

Eight investors have expressed interest in acquiring the state's stake in the dominant Czech telecommunications operator, Czech Telecom. The Czech Republic wants to sell its 51.1 percent share of the fixed-line telephone company by the end of March for around 60 billion Czech crowns, which is some 2.2 billion US dollars. Critics, however, think the expectations are too optimistic. A further 27 percent in Telecom shares belonging to strategic partner Telsource, is also up for sale. While the names of the investors have not been revealed, there is speculation that among the interested parties are Europe's largest telephone utility, Deutsche Telecom, France's Telecom Orange, the American financial house Warburg Pincus together with British partners, and an alliance involving CVC Partners with Spectrum Equity Partners.