e& in partnership talks with Czech Republic’s PPF

UAE-based telco holding company e&/Etisalat is in talks about a possible partnership with Czech investment outfit PPF “to explore strategic collaboration opportunities in central and southeastern Europe (excl. Czech Republic) that are mutually beneficial to both groups”.

E& said the talks were “early-stage discussions” in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

Chief financial officer Karim Bennis said that “should there be any developments on this subject, we well keep the market updated in due course”.

PPF is active in multiple markets in telecoms, financial services and media as well as having investments in real estate, biotech, transport and services.

The investment outfit is German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1’s second largest shareholder after MediaForEurope (MFE). The company recently gained a seat on ProSiebenSat.1’s board, with the approval of MFE.

Other PPF assets include CEE broadcaster CME, mobile operator O2 Czech Republic and mobile operator Yettel Hungary.

PPF is owned by Renáta Kellnerová, the widow of deceased Czech billionaire Petr Kellner.

The investment outfit’s acquisition of a stake in ProSiebenSat.1 followed a progressive sell-down by another Czech investor, Daniel Kretinsky, whose Czech Media Invest acquired a 12% stake in 2020. Kretinsky, who was seen as an ally of the Berlusconi family’s MediaForEurope, which has called for Europe-wide media consolidation, has close business and personal ties with the Kellner family.

e&’s international investments include its ‘cornerstone’ 14.6% stake in Vodafone. The pair announced their own strategic relationship in May, when they agreed to cooperate in the areas of solutions for enterprise customers, procurement, carrier, wholesale and roaming and technology.

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