Telecoms company O2 Czech Republic has submitted a bid to buy an 11.65 percent stake in IT infrastructure firm CD-Telematika, majority owned by Czech Railways. Telecommunications services provider Dial Telecom controls 29%, having bought the stake in early January.
O2 has offered to buy shares from AZD Praha, Odboroveho sdruzeni zeleznicaru and OHL ZS. The acquisition is said to be aimed at preventing Dial Telecom from gaining a blocking stake in CD-Telematika. The potential deal also sparks speculation that O2 wants to buy Czech Railways’s out of the company. O2 representatives, however, refuted such talk, calling it “baseless”.
The government also claims it is not planning to divest the state stake. Newly-appointed transport minister Dan Tok has criticised Czech Railways’ former chief Daniel Kurucz for selling shares in the company. Tok has called CD-Telematika – which has a fibre-optic network of 3,500km along railroad tracks – a company of strategic importance that should be fully owned by the state.
O2’s potential acquisition of a stake in the IT infrastructure firm comes at a time when the telecommunications company is preparing to spin off its mobile and fixed infrastructure into a separate company. The planned spin-off may be launched in June. O2 is majority owned by PPF, the investment vehicle of the Czech Republic’s richest man Petr Kellner.