The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) said in a statement on its website yesterday (24 October 2019) that it has granted Azerbaijani mobile operator Bakcell permission to proceed with a potential deal to buy the country’s second largest cellco Vodafone Ukraine, which is currently wholly owned by Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) of Russia, itself part of the Sistema group. MTS owns Vodafone Ukraine (registered as VF Ukraine) indirectly via a Netherlands-based holding company.
The message on the AMCU site read: ‘Today, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine has given permission to Bakcell LLC (Baku, Azerbaijan) for the indirect purchase of shares of Preludium BV (Amsterdam, Netherlands) which [holds in] excess of 50% of votes in the management company. This will allow the Azerbaijani company to acquire indirect control over [the] Ukrainian mobile operator known under the brand Vodafone.’
Earlier this month the AMCU disclosed an approach regarding a possible bid for VF Ukraine from Bakcell (part of Azerbaijan-based oil/construction/telecom/tech conglomerate Neqsol); MTS commented that it was studying possibilities for its international subsidiaries but no concrete deal was yet on the table.