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United Group agrees to buy Bulgarian Bulsatcom

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November 9 (VoirNews) – The telecommunications and media company specializing in the Balkans, United Group, announced on Thursday that it had agreed to take over the Bulgarian satellite television and broadband Internet access provider, Bulsatcom, for an undisclosed amount. .

The transaction is subject to approval by antitrust authorities, United, owner of Bulgarian mobile operator Vivacom, said in a press release.

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The deal is part of United’s strategy to expand further in Bulgaria, with the aim of accelerating its growth. Currently, United operates in eight countries in the region.

The group, based in the Netherlands, will continue to invest in infrastructure, content and technology in Bulgaria, according to CEO Victoriya Boklag. In March, Boklag said in an interview that United plans to invest 600 million euros ($641.3 million) over three years to strengthen its activities in Bulgaria.

Pay TV and broadband provider Bulsatcom, founded in 2000, serves residential and business customers, providing direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV, IPTV and broadband Internet services. It also owns and operates its own fiber optic infrastructure and retail distribution network.

“We know that Bulsatcom has gone through difficult times and has been put to the test in the current economic environment. But we are convinced that this transaction represents an excellent opportunity for this company to recover and accelerate its development,” said Nikolai Andreev, CEO of Vivacom. He added that the acquisition expands Bulsatcom customers’ access to new products in broadband, DTH and 5G technologies.

United Group serves more than 15.5 million customers in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Slovenia, North Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Greece, generating annual revenue of approximately 2 .7 billion euros.

The group, majority owned by London-based private equity firm BC Partners, entered Bulgaria in 2020 with the acquisition of Vivacom, formerly known as Belgian Telecommunications Company (BTC). Since then, United has developed what it claims to be the nation’s largest 5G network and deployed the first 10GIGA fiber network.

Bulgarian competition authority in December opened a probe on the potential acquisition of 75% of Bulsatcom by the Sofia-based investment company Viva Corporate Bulgaria, represented by businessman Spas Roussev, after being alerted by local telecom operators Yettel Bulgaria and A1 Bulgaria. Roussev was a major shareholder in Vivacom before the company was acquired by United Group. Antitrust concerns from rival mobile carriers stemmed from reports that the acquisition was financed by a loan from United Group. The antitrust authority has not yet announced its decision.

Since February, the competition authority also investigated the proposed acquisition of Bulsatcom’s electronic communications network, including mobile towers and a fixed fiber network, by the subsidiary United Slovenia Broadband.

Earlier this year, United Group castigated a request from Yettel Bulgaria to the competition authority to combine the investigations into the two separate transactions into one.

($ = 0.9356 euros)

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