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Apax: No Deadline To Sell Versatel

DUESSELDORF (Reuters) – Private equity firm Apax Partners [APAX.UL] has not set a specific time to divest its 44 percent stake in German telecoms company Versatel AG (VTWGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), an Apax partner said on Wednesday.

Speaking at an industry event in Duesseldorf, Torsten Krumm said: “We have not set ourselves a time limit.”

The next biggest shareholder in Versatel is German Internet service provider United Internet AG (UTDI.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which owns 25 percent, followed by Dutch media tycoon John De Mol's Cyrte Investment with a stake of 24.7 percent.

Versatel shares were down 2.6 percent at 14.78 euros at the the end of the trading day in Frankfurt, underperforming the DJ Stoxx telecoms index which was down 1.5 percent.

Germany's overpopulated mobile and Internet-access reseller market is on the brink of consolidation, as competition to win consumers drives prices down while former monopoly and network owner Deutsche Telekom AG (DTEGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) maintains its clear lead.

Krumm said Versatel would take part in the market's consolidation one way or another.

Versatel and United Internet are both interested in domestic rival Freenet AG's (FNTG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) DSL broadband business, which Freenet has put on the block. (Reporting by Nicola Leske; Editing by David Holmes)