Bulgarian businessman Spas Rusev is favorite to take over the mobile division of Telekom Romania, the local subsidiary of German group Deutsche Telekom, according to sources familiar with the negotiations quoted by News.ro.
Rusev has submitted a binding offer for Telekom’s mobile operations in Romania as Deutsche Telekom is interested in selling its local business as fast as possible. He is the majority shareholder of the biggest telecom operator in Bulgaria – Vivacom, in which Russian bank VTB is also a shareholder. Vivacom is now on sale and the transaction could amount to EUR 1.2 billion.
Spas Rusev also owns the Radisson Blu and Hilton hotels in Sofia and recently took over Deutsche Telekom’s operations in Albania for EUR 50 million. The Bulgarian businessman has been living in London since 1991 and is considered a controversial character due to his connections with Russia and Bulgarian investors and politicians.
Former Romanian communications minister Marius Bostan, a member of Telekom Romania’s board representing the state, has criticized the potential sale of Telekom’s mobile division to Rusev.
“A sale to a company in Russia or connected to Russia is unacceptable, considering this is critical infrastructure for the national security,” Bostan warned.
Deutsche Telekom controls a majority stake in Romania Telekom through Greek group OTE while the Romanian state is a minority shareholder, with a 46% stake.