Wind Hellas Says It Received Six Bids to Buy Company After Loan Defaults
Wind Hellas Telecommunications SA, Greece’s third-largest mobile phone operator, said it received offers from six groups after the company was put up for sale for missing debt payments.
“The company will be pursuing discussions between the parties and its creditor groups to select a preferred bid by Oct. 14,” Athens-based Wind Hellas said in an e-mailed statement today, without naming the bidders.
Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris told Bloomberg News last week that he made a binding offer to buy the company after he effectively lost control in June. Other bidders include a group of Wind Hellas’s senior secured bondholders and Los Angeles-based Saban Capital Group Inc., said two people familiar with the matter who declined to be identified because the discussions are private.
Although Sawiris bought Wind Hellas out of bankruptcy less than 12 months ago, the company is now under the control of creditors after it deferred a 17.5 million-euro ($23 million) interest payment on its 250 million-euro revolving credit facility in June. It also missed a 23 million-euro coupon payment on its 1.2 billion euros of floating-rate notes.
Sawiris’s bid includes a fresh cash component and a partial debt-for-equity swap under which creditors would give up some of their claims in exchange for shares in a restructured company.
Other groups that were considering bidding for Wind Hellas include Telenor ASA, the Nordic region’s largest phone company, Greece’s No. 1 computer maker Info-Quest SA and On Telecoms, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Argo Capital Partners Fund Ltd, which has a stake in On Telecoms, submitted an offer for Wind Hellas, Reuters reported on Sept. 17, citing people familiar with the situation it didn’t name. Argo Capital Partners spokespeople couldn’t be reached for comment.
Athens-based Info-Quest spokeswoman Fani Kirkou declined to comment, as did Telenor spokesman Scott Engebrigtsen.