CRC approves NURTS sale

8 Sep 2011

Bulgaria’s competition regulator, the Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC), has given its approval for mobile operator Vivacom to sell its remaining 50% stake in its rebroadcasting subsidiary National Unit Radio and TV Systems (NURTS). Dubai-based Bluesat Partners have agreed to purchase the stake for EUR57 million (USD80.1 million), placing it on equal footing with Cyprus-based Mancelord Limited, which bought the other 50% from Vivacom in April 2010 for the same amount.

NURTS operates infrastructure vital to the telecommunications industry, and the change of ownership may lead to legal uncertainty regarding network access. Mobile market leader MobilTel has reportedly voiced its concern, saying that the agreement ‘may result in negative effects on competition and create insurmountable barriers for the implementation of activities concerning joint use of locations, facilities and towers’. MobilTel urged the CPC to oblige NURTS to keep the terms and pricing on existing contracts, however the watchdog dismissed the operator’s fears, saying that it would launch an investigation if the outcome was detrimental to customers.

Bulgaria, A1 Bulgaria (Mobiltel), Vivacom (BTC)