Georgian telecoms operator MagtiCom has reached an ‘exclusive’ agreement to acquire the retail operating assets of local ISP Caucasus Online. In a joint statement, the pair said they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that ‘contains mutually agreed conditions of the sale of operating assets necessary for providing services to retail and corporate customers’. The agreement between MagtiCom and Caucasus Online is exclusive, meaning that the latter will end negotiations with any other third party. The sale and purchase agreement will be concluded by 30 May 2016, with the asset transfer and integration process expected to take several months. Existing subscribers will receive advance notification regarding the actual transfer date, after which the provision of fixed broadband, IPTV and fixed line telephony will be assumed by MagtiCom.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, MagtiCom and Caucasus Online jointly applied to the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) for prior consent of a potential takeover deal in August 2015, and the regulator gave its approval the following November, after determining that the transaction would have no negative effect on existing competition in the mobile, IPTV, VoIP and retail internet sectors. Caucasus Online was established in 2006 through the merger of ISPs Caucasus Network, SaNet and Georgia Online, and the combined entity went on to acquire fixed-wireless operator Telenet in July 2008. It is understood that Caucasus Online will retain ownership of the 1,200km Caucasus Cable System, which stretches across the Black Sea between Georgia and Bulgaria, providing direct access to Western Europe.