United Group, the leading telecoms and media business operating in South Eastern Europe, has agreed to acquire Vivacom, the largest telecoms operator in Bulgaria.
This acquisition marks the second transaction since New York and London headquartered investment firm BC Partners’ March 2019 acquisition of United Group, in what was one of the largest ever transactions for the region. The acquisition will accelerate United Group’s growth, expand its geographic reach and cement its position as the industry leader in the region. United Group already operates in six countries in the region.
Vivacom provides services to over 1.8 million unique customers. The company was the first telecommunications company in Bulgaria and today provides advanced services including fibre broadband, mobile communications and digital TV to private and commercial customers.
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2020, subject to conditions including receipt of applicable antitrust approvals. The acquisition will be financed through a combination of new debt and cash on hand at United Group.
Victoriya Boklag, CEO of United Group, said, “Vivacom is a well-run company with strong management and I am excited at the opportunities we have to build an even stronger business. Bulgaria is an attractive market and this acquisition will enable us to diversify the Group further. United Group has a great track record in acquiring and successfully integrating businesses, with more than 100 acquisitions since our inception.”
Nikos Stathopoulos, Partner at BC Partners commented, “When we invested in United Group, we identified its business model, technology and regional leadership as key drivers for organic growth, accelerated by acquiring and integrating local companies. With Vivacom, we are pleased to acquire a dynamic telecom operator in a vibrant economy and a growing market that enables us to expand our geographic reach across Europe.”
Spas Roussev, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Vivacom said “This transaction is a great success and a great opportunity for Vivacom, its clients, and more generally for Bulgaria. Thanks to great efforts of all, Vivacom has become one of the most successful European telecom companies. It now welcomes as new shareholders one of the most successful global investors with significant presence in Europe and North-America, BC Partners. Vivacom will play a big role in the future development of United Group, their leading regional telecom and media platform.”
Lazard acted as financial advisor to the seller and CMS acted as legal advisor. Citigroup, JP Morgan and LionTree acted as financial advisors to United Group and Paul Weiss acted as legal advisor.