Hungarian govt acquires indirect stake in national operator Yettel


The deal means the Hungarian government now has minority stakes in two of the country’s mobile network operators

This week, state-owned Corvinus Nemzetkozi Befektetesi has acquired a minority stake in Hungary’s second-largest mobile operator, Yettel Magyarorszag, via a share swap agreement with Antenna Hungaria.

Antenna Hungaria is itself a subsidy of 4iG, the Hungarian IT firm that purchased Vodafone Hungary for €1.7 billion earlier this year.

Taking both of these deals together, 4iG explained that Antenna Hungaria had raised its stake in Vodafone Hungary to 70.5%, having acquired a 19.5% in the business from Corvinus in return for a 25% stake in PPF Telecom Group, which includes Yettel.

This leaves Corvinus’ stake in Vodafone Hungary reduced to 29.5%.

“The transaction enhances the assets and participation of the Hungarian state in the strategically-important telecommunications sector,” said the Economic Development Ministry in a statement. “Apart from diversifying its investment portfolio further in the telecoms sector, the deal will also enable the state to more forcefully and efficiently contribute to the development of the industry.”

This news represents the latest step in the Hungarian state’s increasing control over the nation’s telecoms industry, which has been growing gradually over the past decade under nationalist leader Viktor Orban.

Under the Orban administration, the government’s control over many of the country’s key sectors, including the energy and banking sectors, has grown considerably, with Orban having called for ‘Hungarian-owned national champions’ to occupy positions of strategic importance for the national economy.

In somewhat related news, Yettel today announced that it has deployed a private 5G network at the Becsi ut campus of Obuda University in Budapest. The company says it completed the deployment late last year, which is now fully available for students and researchers.

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