Report: Vivacom sold to Bulgarian businessman for €330M plus debt

Bulgaria-based Vivacom has reportedly been snapped up by a Bulgarian businessman with a bid of €330 million ($352.90 million) following an auction for control of the operator.

Citing unnamed sources, Reuters said Spas Roussev won the bidding for the company after a process that lasted more than 12 hours. Including debt, Reuters noted that the price increases to €730 million. The news agency added that the other bidder was the Greek Olympia Group together with hedge fund Third Point.

The mobile and fixed communications service provider was put up for sale by VTB Capital following a default on a €150 million loan to InterV, a Luxembourg-based indirect holding company of Vivacom. VTB Capital is the investment-banking arm of Russia's second-largest bank VTB.

VTB Capital confirmed the process and the price but said it would only reveal the winner after a share-purchase agreement had been signed.

"The winning price of €330 million represents a significant premium for shareholders over and above the full loan recovery value," the bank said.

Reuters previously reported that VTB Capital was able to launch the sales process because the loan was secured by 100 per cent of the shares of InterV, so the shares went to VTB Capital after the default.

Vivacom has not yet confirmed or denied the reported outcome of the sales process.

A spokesman for the operator -- whose legal name is BTC -- said in comments emailed to FierceWireless:Europe: "We cannot currently confirm or reject the various press reports as to the result of the tender for the shares of InterV. We were not involved in the sales process and cannot comment [on] it at this stage."

Vivacom is Bulgaria's largest telecoms operator and reported revenue of BGN625 million (€319 million/$339 million) for the first nine months of this year -- an increase of 4 per cent year-on-year.

The company also said it had more than 3 million mobile subscribers by the end of September, of which 85 per cent are postpaid. Revenue from mobile services increased by 9 per cent year on year to BGN355 million, attributable both to the increase in the number of subscribers and higher ARPU. The share of revenue from mobile data also grew to 27 per cent in the first nine months of 2015, from 23 per cent a year previously.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this previous Reuters article
- see the Vivacom results
- see the VTB Capital release

Related articles:
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Telenor Group earnings growth not enough for analysts, stock market
OTE sells Bulgarian unit to Telenor for €717M
Telekom Austria cuts 2014 outlook, posts H1 loss on Bulgaria writedown

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