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Private equity investing in central Europe
01 July 2004
Chris Mruck of private equity firm Advent International reflects on the now completed deal to buy 65% of Bulgaria's incumbent operator
When we looked at the Bulgaria Telecommunications Company as a possible investment in early 2002, concerns about the country and the privatisation nature of the deal dominated our thinking. But it soon became apparent that there was a real entry opportunity here.
Given the state of the telecoms markets, it seemed likely that competition from strategic bidders would be limited and that the few private equity groups with any experience of investing in that part of the world would have difficulty putting together the funding for a serious bid.
Furthermore, the then new government of prime minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha had young, western-trained professionals in most of the keys ministries relevant to doing a privatisation deal.
As a company, BTC poses many significant challenges, ranging from right-sizing the 25,000 workforce, through modernising the infrastructure to dealing with the mobile challenge.
On the other...
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