Bulgaria's Vivacom New Owners Move to Buy Out Minority Shareholders

Business | January 30, 2013, Wednesday // 09:31| Views: 2958 | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Bulgaria's Vivacom New Owners Move to Buy Out Minority Shareholders Tsvetan Vassilev, chairman of the supervisory board of Corporate Commercial Bank, is considered one of Bulgaria's richest men. Photo by BGNES

The new owners of Bulgaria's Vivacom have launched a buyout offer to the minority shareholders in the telecom in a deal, which will bring the value of the company at about BGN 810 M.

The offer, published in Capital Daily newspaper, sets the price per share at BGN 2.80 for a 5.91% stake.

Bulgarian lender Corporate Commercial Bank and Russian peer VTB Capital acquired Bulgaria's Vivacom in November.

The European Commission gave the green light for the acquisition of Bulgarian telecom Vivacom by the country's Corporate Commercial Bank and the Russian bank VTB in October, thus lifting the last hurdle before the final purchase.

The November acquisition of Vivacom by Bulgarian lender Corporate Commercial Bank and Russian peer VTB Capital was made possible by the approval of the company's shareholders of the proposed debt swap plan.

Corporate Commercial Bank and VTB Capital acquired at least a 73% stake in the debt-ridden telco, which reportedly was equally distributed between them.

The tie-in submitted a bid for Vivacom at the end of July and creditors accepted the offered terms a week later.

CCBank holds nearly half of the deposits by state-run companies and is widely known as the government's darling.

Vivacom - formerly known as the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC) - has gone through a number of controversial privatization deals.

The long-drawn-out and widely criticized EUR 230 M sale deal for 65% stake in Bulgaria's telecom operator BTC was sealed at the end of February 2004 after nearly two years of procedural predicaments, legal and political battles.

Months later Icelandic businessman Thor Bjorgolfsson bought Viva's stake for EUR 300 M and resold it to the investment company AIG Central Europe for EUR 1.08 B.

AIG Investments acquired 65% of the former state-owned telecommunications firm in May 2007. Then in August of the same year it upped its investment to 90%. AIG Investments was rebranded to PineBridge Investments ahead of its acquisition by Richard Li's Pacific Century Group (PCG) in 2010.

Dubai-based Oger Telecom was the closest to taking over the management of the company following negotiations that dragged on for nearly half a year. The deal however failed because the final offer was not satisfactory, according to insiders.

The telco was also eyeing a Turkish new owner earlier this year, but the sale deal failed.

Vivacom is the third largest mobile operator in Bulgaria after Telekom Austria 's Mobiltel and Greek OTE's Globul.

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Tags: NEF Telecom, European Commission, AIG Investments, mobile market, BTC, Bulgarian Telecommunications Company, Richard Li, Vivacom, Telekom Austria, turkey, Turkcell, Corporate Commercial Bank, Tsvetan Vassilev, Mobiltel, OTE, Globul, Pamplona, mobile operator, Bulgaria, VTB Bank, VTB Capital, PineBridge Investments, Bulgarian, Russian, lender, NEF Telecom, Thor Bjorgolfsson, CCBank, Royal Bank of Scotland, VTB, approval
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