CPC approves Vivacom sale

11 Jan 2016

Bulgaria’s Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) has approved the sale of domestic telco Vivacom (registered as Bulgarian Telecommunications Company [BTC]) to Spas Roussev, a financial investor backed by VTB Capital (the investment-banking arm of Russia’s VTB), Novinite reports. The regulator ruled that Vivacom will not gain dominant position in the telecoms market as a result of the deal, as the entities involved are not active in the same markets.

As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Spas Roussev bid EUR330 million (USD351 million) for the telco in an auction held in mid-November 2015; the sale price values the Bulgarian telco at EUR700 million, when factoring in the existing debt of the company. VTB Capital was able to launch the sale process as it acted as a facility and security agent for a EUR150 million bridge financing loan given to InterV Investment, a Luxembourg-based indirect holding company of Vivacom. The loan was secured via a share pledge of 100% of InterV shares, which were all transferred to VTB Capital after InterV defaulted on its loan repayments in May 2015. Three potential buyers placed bids for Vivacom in the auction: Greece’s Olympia Group (backed by US-based hedge fund Third Point); Marc Schneider (co-founder of European cable group UPC, backed by US-based private equity fund CVC); and Roussev, though Schneider’s bid was subsequently disqualified for ‘non-conformity with the procedure’ despite valuing Vivacom at EUR850 million.

Bulgaria, Vivacom (BTC)