United Group is to expand its operations in Greece via the proposed acquisition of local cellco Wind Hellas. The group says it has reached a sale agreement with Wind’s majority shareholder Crystal Almond Holdings, which is itself controlled by investment firms Golden Tree Asset Management and Cyrus Capital Partners. United Group plans to combine Wind with its wholly-owned Greek ISP and pay-TV subsidiary Nova (formerly Forthnet) to create a fully converged operation. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed in 2022.
Nova had previously signed a wholesale deal with Wind’s rival Vodafone Greece to allow it to launch as an MVNO, but United Group said the wholesale rates would not enable it to compete effectively. The Greek telecoms regulator EETT recently launched a study into the wholesale mobile rates as it looks to encourage the entry of virtual providers.
United Group CEO Victoriya Boklag said: ‘This deal confirms United Group’s long-term commitment to the Greek market. Wind, with its strong mobile business, has an amazing fit with the media and the fixed line expertise of Nova and United Group. In Wind, we are buying a successful business that will enable us to strengthen our presence and offering to customers across Greece.’