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Orange to buy OTE’s controlling stake in Telekom Romania for €268 million

Control of Romania’s second-largest fixed-line player will effectively switch from Deutsche Telekom to Orange, signaling the evolution of their respective European strategies.

Telekom Romania Communications is known as TKR to its friends. It’s 46% owned by the Romanian state, but the controlling stake is owned by Greek tech giant OTE, of which DT is by far the largest shareholder with 45%. So, in a roundabout way, this signifies the transfer of a significant Romanian telecoms player from DT to Orange.

The stated reason for Orange to shell out €268 million to control TKR is its ambition to become the preferred choice of customers for convergent services in the Romanian market. TKR is primarily a fixed-line player, offering a Virgin Media-like package of telephony, broadband and pay-TV services to around 5 million punters. It currently has an MVNO deal with Telekom Romania, which will switch to Orange Romania, as you would expect.

“This acquisition is an important step to accelerate our convergence strategy in Europe,” said Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Deputy CEO, in charge of Orange in Europe. “Romania is a key market for Orange and a great success story. This transaction confirms our long-term commitment to the Romanian market. We are looking forward to contribute to the development of the telecoms sector through sustained investments in top performing network infrastructures and innovative services.”

“This is a significant milestone for the Romanian telecom market that will enhance its attractiveness both in terms of converged telecoms services and high-quality infrastructure, while increasing competition,” said Liudmila Climoc, CEO, Orange Romania. “It will provide the opportunity to scale up innovative convergent services, bringing broader benefits and wider choices to the customers and also to the country’s digital economy sustainable development.

“Orange Romania’s and Telekom Romania Communications’ network complementarity will allow us to bring together not only customers and teams, but also the best of expertise in terms of quality of service and future-proof mobile and fixed networks infrastructure.”

It’s not immediately obvious how much better TKR’s convergent offering will be under new ownership, since the only immediate change will by the MVNO supplier. Still, it makes for good PowerPoint and gives the M&A people something to do for a bit, so fair enough.

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