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United Group’s Mobile Telephony Towers Sale Approved by Bulgarian Regulator

 |  August 16, 2023

The proposed sale of United Group’s mobile telephony towers in Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia to Saudi telecom infrastructure company Tawal has been met with approval by Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC).

The deal, announced in April, would give Tawal 100 percent ownership of United Group’s towers in exchange for 1.22 billion euro in cash, although United Group will remain in control of the infrastructure through a long-term agreement.

Yettel Bulgaria, one of Bulgaria’s three mobile carriers and competitor of United Group’s Vivacom, objected to the deal, arguing that the CPC should postpone the decision until it had ruled on United Group’s ‘de facto and de jure’ acquisition of Bulgarian satellite TV company Bulsatkom without prior notification of the CPC.

Responding to the objection, CPC stated that as the regulator deciding on both deals, it has full access to the relevant information and any ruling done by them would be consistent and without jeopardy.

“The regulator should postpone a decision until it ruled on United Group’s ‘de facto and de jure’ acquisition of Bulgarian satellite TV provider Bulsatkom without prior notification of the CPC,” said Yettel Bulgaria.

“As the regulator ruling on both deals, it had full access to all relevant information and there was no risk that it would issue contradictory rulings in the two cases,” CPC countered.

The CPC ruled to approve the proposed sale, subject to future review regarding the terms of the long-term agreement entered into by United Group and Tawal.

Though the sale has been approved, the future of the telephony towers remains uncertain as the CPC is still reviewing United Group’s acquisition of Bulsatkom, and the outcome of this decision could determine the viability of the ongoing agreement between United Group and Tawal concerning the telephony towers.

Source: Sofia Globe