PARIS – Vivendi and Deutsche Telekom both claimed victory Tuesday in their long-running dispute over ownership of the Polish mobile phone network PTC.
Vivendi said a decision Dec. 18 by Austria’s top court had overturned an arbitration panel that had sought to annul an agreement underpinning a joint venture between Vivendi and Elektrim, a Polish holding company.
Beginning in 1999, Vivendi invested a total of more than €2 billion, or $2.6 billion, in the venture, which it and Elektrim had set up to control PTC through a 51 percent stake.
In a statement, Vivendi said the court ruling had “definitively and unambiguously” sided with its demand that Deutsche Telekom return either the cash or the shares Vivendi originally bought in PTC, formally Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa. The German telecommunications operator now claims to own 97 percent of PTC.
A Deutsche Telekom spokesman, Andreas Leigers, rejected Vivendi’s interpretation of the ruling, and said the top Austrian court had found in Telekom’s favor.
Leigers said that the court had even ordered Vivendi to pay the legal costs of both parties in the two-year court battle. “In Austria, the loser pays the court costs. That shows that we won the suit.”
Both companies’ statements were issued after court offices in Vienna closed for the day.
Vivendi and Deutsche Telekom have already taken their dispute over PTC to courts and arbitration hearings in London, Warsaw and the United States.
In October, Vivendi filed a lawsuit against Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile subsidiary in Seattle — home to T-Mobile’s U.S. headquarters — under a racketeering law. The conflict has also spawned a series of lawsuits by PTC bondholders throughout Europe.
Vivendi also has filed criminal charges in Poland against top executives from T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom and Zygmunt Solorz-Zak, an investor who controls Elektrim.
Fuente: International Herald Tribune