PPF Group, which is controlled by the Czech entrepreneur Petr Kellner, has completed its acquisition of Telenor Group’s telecommunications assets in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), specifically in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia. In a press release, PPF Group confirmed it has received all the necessary approvals from the relevant authorities and completed all other requisite processes. ‘As a result, PPF Group now holds full control over Telenor’s operations in the aforementioned countries,’ the statement read.
The acquisition is the biggest in the telecom sector in CEE since 2011. The total purchase price of the assets (based on the enterprise value approach) was EUR2.8 billion (USD3.26 billion) and will be financed through a syndicated loan, it said. Kellner’s Group already owns significant telecoms assets in the CEE, including 81.1% of O2 Czech Republic and its O2 Slovakia unit, and 100% of Czech infrastructure provider Ceska telekomunikacni infrastruktura (Czech Telecommunications Infrastructure, or CETIN).
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the European Commission (EC) approved the sale earlier this week. In confirming its decision, the EC said it had found that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns. Specifically, it said the deal would not give rise to horizontal overlaps, as the involved companies’ activities are confined to the different territories in which they hold their respective telecommunication licences. Further, it said it had determined that the vertical links between the upstream markets for wholesale international roaming and wholesale mobile and fixed call termination services and the downstream markets for retail mobile and fixed telecoms services arising from the transaction would be unproblematic. As such, having examined the transaction under the normal merger review procedure, the EC confirmed it would approve it under the EU Merger Regulation.