Serbia Telekom had made a $61 million bid for a controlling stake in Albania Telekom

The Albanian government has knocked back a bid from Serbia Telekom to purchase a controlling stake in state owned Albania Telekom.

Serbia Telekom made a bid earlier this week but reports in the Balkan media suggest that the Albanian government has stated that the Serb bid is "not welcome" and that it is already courting interest from another bidder. Telekom Serbia’s bid was reported to be in the region of $61 million and is believed to have been the biggest of 4 separate bids received by the Albanian government.

“Telekom Serbia is not welcome in Albania. Although, it is ultimately the decision of the companies and although the government has no influence on it, the arrival of Telekom Serbia in the Albanian mobile telephony market could cause reactions that could negatively impact the company. We are ready to welcome Serbian investments in the country, but in this sector, we prefer an investor of a different profile”, sources from the Albanian government told TV Top Channel.

The Albanian government’s refusal to entertain the bid will likely stem from a political nexus. Serbia refuses to acknowledge the independence of the breakaway republic of Kosovo, the vast majority of whose population are ethnic Albanians (95 per cent). Serbia still claims Kosovo as a Serbian province, whilst the Kosovan government in Pristina maintains that it is an independent nation.

Serbia Telekom has made a number of bids in recent months to acquire telecoms operators in the Balkan region, as it looks to expand its regional presence.  

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