On Monday, Deutsche Telekom (DT) confirmed its plan to acquire from the Greek government an additional 10% stake in national telecom operator OTE through the exercise by Greece of a put option that will enable the government to raise much-needed funds through the sale of state-owned assets. Valued at US$585 million, the 10% stake will boost the German carrier’s total holding in OTE to 40%. Compared to DT’s previous acquisitions in OTE, Monday’s sale represents a significant bargain as DT has paid the Greek government nearly €4 billion (US$5.8 billion) since 2008 for its existing OTE stake. The put option, agreed to three years ago by Greece and DT, enables the government by the end of 2011 to transfer 10% of OTE to DT at a rate that is 15% higher than current market prices. DT also has rights of first refusal to purchase an additional 6% stake from the government. A DT spokesman indicated on Monday that his company is interested in acquiring further shares “if it makes economic sense for us.” Monday’s pact leaves the Greek government with a 10% holding in OTE. (Sources note, however, that the government’s stake must fall below 10% for the state to relinquish its veto rights over OTE’s management.) The remaining 50% of OTE is owned by various Greek and international institutional investors. Notwithstanding recent weaknesses in the Greek economy that have reduced the value of DT’s investment in OTE, a DT spokesman declared, “there is huge potential for growth in the future.”