Petr Kellner, founder of telecoms investor PPF, dies in helicopter crash

Petr Kellner, founder of telecoms investor PPF, dies in helicopter crash

Petr Kellner.jpg

Petr Kellner, founder of investment group PPF, which owns O2 Czech Republic and network operator Cetin, has died in a helicopter crash in Alaska.

Kellner  (pictured), aged 56, was worth US$17.5 billion, and PPF has assets of €44 billion, according to estimates.

A representative of Czech president Milos Zeman said: “The president held Petr Kellner in high esteem for his business success and is immensely sorry for his tragic death.”

Only last month PPF said it had appointed banks BNP Paribas, Morgan Stanley and Societe Generale to explore a potential IPO of its telecoms division. 

PPF is owned by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner and its telecoms division CETIN owns and operates the largest telecom network in the Czech republic, with a modernisation project completed last year.

According to Radio Prague International he was among five people killed in a helicopter crash around 80 kilometres from Anchorage in Alaska on Saturday evening, PPF said today. The party were reportedly on a heli-skiing trip when the tragedy occurred.

His business career began three decades ago when the then Czechoslovakia emerged from Communist rule, followed by the split between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. PPF bought previously state-owned companies, followed by the country’s biggest insurance company, Česká pojišťovna.

PPF later bought O2 Czech Republic from Telefónica, though it retained the O2 brand. Network infrastructure company Cetin was split from O2 Czech Republic in 2015, still owned by PPF.

PPF expanded into telecoms operations across eastern Europe and last year bought AT&T’s central and eastern European media interests for $1.1 billion in cash.

Under the deal, AT&T was no longer responsible for $575 million in Central European Media Enterprises (CME) debt. The US telco took on the European business when it merged with Time Warner in 2018.

PPF took full control of CME’s operations in the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Bulgaria.




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