ATHENS/LONDON (Reuters) – The list of bidders for Greek mobile operator Wind Hellas was whittled down to two on Monday, with only the current owner and a group of bondholders left in the running to bail out the debt-laden company.
Wind Hellas, which must agree a debt restructuring deal with lenders — owed 3.2 billion euros ($4.8 billion) — within the month, said on Monday it would continue to talk to the two bidders and would identify a preferred candidate next week.
The company is looking to secure new cash investment and a reduction in debt, said Matthew Tippetts, director of Wind Hellas parent company Hellas Telecommunications UK.
“The group is now working with its creditors to achieve the necessary consents to implement a transaction,” Tippetts said.
Current owner Weather Investments, majority-owned by Egyptian telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris, is one of the bidders, while a group of subordinated bondholders coordinated by Aladdin Capital is the other, the company said in an emailed statement.
U.S. buyout house TPG Capital, which previously owned the company alongside Apax Partners, had also looked closely at making an offer before ultimately declining to do so.
The subordinated bondholders — owed 1.17 billion euros — have said they would be willing to back a buyout of the company if an alternative deal undervalued Wind Hellas’s assets. [ID:nLM294867] (Reporting by Tom Freke and Simon Meads in London, with Harry Papachristou in Athens; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.6650 Euro)