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German Government Advised to Sell Deutsche Telekom Stake

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The German government has been told it should consider selling its near one third stake in Deutsche Telekom as it is not a core asset for the government to hold.

A senior official at Germany's federal audit office, the Bundesrechnungshof, told German daily Die Welt that the stake was no longer a strategic asset for a government to hold on to.

"Telephony is not a task for the state", Christian Ahrendt, vice president of the Bundesrechnungshof told the paper.

He said that the state should review all its holdings and consider if they are assets that a government needs to hold on to.

The German government owns a 14.5 percent stake directly in Deutsche Telekom, and a further 17.4 percent stake indirectly through the state-controlled bank, KfW -- taking its holdings to 31.9 percent in total.

A sale by the government would relax concerns in the USA about is indirect ownership of a large stake in T-Mobile USA. Any large mergers require a special clearance from the regulators as T-Mobile USA is majority owned by a foreign company with a large government stake.

A sale by the German government of the stake on the grounds that it is no longer a strategic asset would possibly also put some pressure on the USA to stop treating telecoms as strategic assets themselves, and relax the rules on foreign ownership of telcos.

On the web: Die Welt

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Tags: deutsche telekom  Germany