The Croatian Competition Agency (Agencija za Zastitu Trzisnog Natjecanja, AZTN) has granted conditional approval for local ISP Optima Telekom to merge with rival firm H1 Telekom. Optima says the tie-up will achieve positive synergies, increase efficiency and reduce costs. The regulator also approved a request by Hrvatski Telekom (HT) to extend its management control over Optima by three years, to July 2021.
HT, which has a 19% stake in Optima, was granted management control over the ISP in 2014 in an effort to help it reduce its debts and stave off bankruptcy. The four-year contract was originally due to expire in July 2018, but in August 2016, when announcing the planned merger of Optima and H1, HT also revealed that it would be looking to extend the deal by three years. A statement from HT at the time read: ‘The financial, organisational and legal consolidation of H1 and Optima, with prolonged management by HT, will enable the continuity of operations of these companies and the fulfilment of obligations to customers, employees and creditors.’