British investment fund Growth Management Ltd has bought a 10% stake in Georgian internet provider Caucasus Online for an undisclosed amount, Reuters reports. Prior to the deal the company’s CEO Mamia Sanadiradze owned 95.1%, with the remainder held by TBC Bank. Caucasus Online emerged as a near monopoly with about 90% of the subscriber market in 2006 after taking over two major internet providers, Sanet and Georgia Online. The company is due to list on the London bourse by the end of the year, making it the second Georgian company to do so after the Bank of Georgia. In September 2007, Caucasus Online signed a contract with US vendor Tyco Telecoms to lay a 1,100km underwater fibre-optic cable linking Georgia with Bulgaria.
According to the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC), turnover for the internet sector was GEL26.15 million (USD15.5 million) in 2006, up from GEL19.8 million in 2005. The figure for 2007 is not yet available.