October 27, 2017 / 6:48 AM / a year ago

Deutsche Telekom labor boss highlights takeover threat

General view of the Deutsche Telekom exhibition stand at the world's biggest computer and software fair CeBit in Hanover, Germany, March 14, 2016. REUTERS/Nigel Treblin

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom could become a takeover target if the German government sells its 31.9 percent stake in the telecommunications group, the head of its works council said in a newspaper interview.

“This is just speculation, but at the current market price Telekom is very interesting for many private equity firms but also for Chinese, Russian or American companies,” Josef Bednarski told Handelsblatt daily in an interview published on Friday.

Two German parties that are exploring forming a coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives support the idea of selling state assets, including stakes in Deutsche Telekom, Commerzbank or Deutsche Post.

The pro-business FDP and the Greens want to use the proceeds to fund investments in education and modern digital infrastructure.

Telekom’s Bednarski warned that thousands of jobs could be at risk if the company was taken over by a rival.

“Surely nobody believes that everything will stay the same if a new owner carves up the company,” he told Handelsblatt, adding that he assumed that management was talking to German politicians to stress the importance of remaining partly state owned.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan. Editing by Jane Merriman

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