Shipping Tycoon Marinakis Eyes Takeover of Troubled Forthnet ISP


Shipping owner Evangelos Marinakis. (Photo by Eurokinissi)

ATHENS – A big stake in Greece's debt-crushed Forthnet, an Internet Service Provider and cell phone  struggling to stay afloat, is being sought by shipping magnate and Olympiakos soccer team owner Vangelis Marinakis to add to his empire.

His Alter Ego Mass Media group is seeking to eventually take it over, said the business newspaper Naftemporiki, in a condition offer over Forthnet's Non-Peforming Exposures (NPEs) held by the National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank and Attica Bank, through shares and convertible bonds.

The banks were reportedly close to selling off Forthnet to a group of including the Greek media group Ant1 and Blackstone, a New York City-based multinational private equity, alternative asset management, and financial services firm after dealing with Greece's two other mobile phone operators, Vodafone and Wind.

Alter Ego Mass Media proposed paying 20 percent of the 225 million euros ($247.84 million) owed to banks in exchange for 36 percent of shares, the paper said, which would require Marinakis' group to issue a public offer to acquire control of Forthnet, which also operates the digital pay satellite TV platform Nova.