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United Group in talks for Bulgaria’s Vivacom: FT
Posted on Friday, 18 October 2019 13:15
BC Partners-backed United Group is discussing a potential acquisition of Bulgaria’s largest telecommunications company Vivacom that could be worth around EUR 1.20 billion based on other recent deals in the industry, people close to the matter told the Financial Times (FT). The business was put on the block in July, with owner Spas Roussev confirming that Lazard has been hired to handle a sales process. At the time, market sources, as cited by Reuters, suggested the value would be around EUR 1.20 billion, including EUR 600.00 million in debt. One insider familiar with the situation told the FT that United Group’s offer is close to this amount. In a previous article by the newspaper last month, it suggested Providence Equity Partners was also considering bidding around EUR 1.05 billion for Vivacom. According to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk, if the deal with United Group materialises, it would represent the largest investment in a Bulgarian target in 2019 to date. Vivacom is controlled by Roussev, who took over for EUR 330.00 million in 2015 alongside the London-based division of Russian lender VTB. While the people cautioned there is no guarantee of a deal occurring from these discussions, the same sources suggested an announcement could be made in the coming two weeks. Vivacom claims to be a leader in modern telecom services from mobile and fixed voice to high-speed fibre optic internet and digital interactive television. The company last reported its earnings for the nine months to 30th September 2018, when revenue increased 5.3 per cent to BGN 697.40 million (EUR 356.58 million) from BGN 662.05 million in the corresponding period of 2017. Adjusted earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortisation during this timeframe rose 6.7 per cent to BGN 263.48 million (Q1-3 2017: BGN 246.83 million). Zephyr shows that 65 deals have targeted Bulgarian companies announced in the year so far, the biggest of which currently involves Eurohold Bulgaria signing an agreement to acquire seven companies in the country from CEZ for EUR 335.00 million. © Zephus Ltd