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Wind Hellas Bondholders Said Favored to Acquire Phone Company

Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Wind Hellas Telecommunications SA’s senior-secured bondholders are in the lead to acquire Greece’s third-largest mobile phone operator, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

While a bid by Telenor ASA, the Nordic region’s largest phone company, is preferred by lenders of Wind Hellas, bondholders aren’t satisfied with the offer, terms of which couldn’t be determined, said the people, who declined to be identified because a final decision hasn’t been made.

Wind Hellas, which was bought out of bankruptcy less than 12 months ago by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, is controlled by creditors after it deferred payments on a 250 million-euro ($341 million) revolving credit facility in June and missed an interest payment on its 1.2 billion euros of floating-rate notes. Wind and its adviser, Morgan Stanley, will pick a preferred bidder by Oct. 14, the people said.

An offer by Sawiris isn’t considered adequate, one of the people said. Other bidders had included Info-Quest SA, Greece’s No. 1 computer maker, Los Angeles-based Saban Capital Group Inc. and Argo Capital Partners Fund Ltd., which has a stake in Athens-based On Telecoms, another person said.

The process isn’t over and the bondholders may not end up the preferred bidders, the people said.

Argo Capital declined to comment yesterday while Sawiris didn’t respond to messages. A Telenor spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a call seeking comment. Athens-based Info-Quest spokeswoman Fani Kirkou didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Creditors took control of the business in June after Wind Hellas missed debt payments.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kate Haywood in London at khaywood@bloomberg.net Jacqueline Simmons in Paris at jackiem@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Armstrong at parmstrong10@bloomberg.net

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