Final Word from Thursday, October 14, 2004





IT Minister Vladimír Mlynář told Czech Radio that the problem with a stock-market float of Český Telecom shares is that we could wake up one day to find Osama bin Laden in control of the phone company. Some people think this was a code name for PPF. Petr Kellner told MFD in June that PPF is interested in joining with partners to buy 51% of Telecom, but in recent weeks PPF - through its mouthpiece, Euro - has become the main supporter of a float. This would also appeal to Telecom's managers, because dispersed owners would have trouble sacking them. Kellner told MFD that Kč 10-15bn in cash should be enough to buy 51%, but the scuttlebutt now is that a 10% stake could be enough for someone like PPF to take control in a flotation. If a float is indeed approved against Mlynář's will, Kellner might need only Kč 5-8bn to add Telecom to his empire.

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