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Bulgarian Watchdog Probes Vivacom’s Plan To Buy Multiple Rivals

 |  February 2, 2023

Bulgaria’s competition authority said it will start an in-depth investigation of the intention of Vivacom Bulgaria, previously known as Bulgarian Telecommunications Company to acquire Networx-Bulgaria, TVN Distribution Bulgaria and Telco Infrastructures and obtain indirect control of Online Direct.

The in-depth probe is being initiated after a local court invalidated a previous decision of the Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) to approve the notified transaction, the CPC said in a statement on Wednesday.

The competition authority cleared the transaction in July 2021 following an initial evaluation. The regulator concluded at the time that the acquisition would not lead to the establishment or strengthening of a dominant position by Vivacom on the local internet, metropolitan area network (MAN), pay TV, and radio distribution markets.

Read more: Bulgaria: Competition authority OKs Vivacom’s acquisition

However, telecommunications company Yettel Bulgaria, previously called Telenor Bulgaria, appealed the decision before the Administrative Court of Sofia, which found that an in-depth investigation of the intended transaction is needed. Vivacom and CPC took the case to the Supreme Administrative Court, which upheld the lower-instance decision.

Networx-Bulgaria, TVN Distribution Bulgaria and Telco Infrastructures are all 100%-owned by private individual Svilen Maksimov. Online Direct is a fully-owned subsidiary of Networx-Bulgaria.