A consortium led by Bulgarian businessman Spas Roussev has reportedly taken control of domestic telecoms operator Vivacom (registered as Bulgarian Telecommunications Company, BTC) from VTB Capital (the investment-banking arm of Russia’s VTB), Reuters writes. ‘On 30 August 2016, the sale of 100% of shares in InterV Investment [a Luxembourg-based indirect holding company of Vivacom] was successfully completed … The company was acquired by Viva Telecom, a consortium headed by Spas Roussev as its largest shareholder, and various minority investors, including VTB,’ the bank said in a press release.
According to two sources familiar with the matter, Roussev now has 46% of the Bulgarian telco, VTB owns 20% minus one share, Delta Capital (controlled by the managers of the Bulgarian division of VTB Capital) has 19%, while the rest is held by former creditors of Vivacom.
As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in mid-November 2015 VTB Capital held an auction for the sale of the telco. Spas Roussev, backed by VTB Capital, placed the winning bid of EUR330 million (USD367 million) for the company; the sale price valued the Bulgarian company at EUR700 million, when factoring in the existing debt of the company. VTB Capital was able to launch the sale process as it acted as a facility and security agent for a EUR150 million bridge financing loan given to InterV Investment.
The ownership of Vivacom, however, is still subject to an ongoing legal dispute. In March 2016 Empreno Ventures, which claims to own 100% of LIC Communications (previously known as SHCO 79) – a shareholder in InterV Investments’ indirect holding company V Telecom Investment – filed a lawsuit against VTB Capital in the High Court of London over the alleged ‘illegal seizure of 100% equity stake in Vivacom’.