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Turkcell loses attempt to buy Vivacom
03 May 2012
Bulgarian operator Vivacom unsold as creditors fail to secure deal with Turkcell or other bidders
The planned sale of Bulgarian incumbent operator Vivacom has failed after the offers made by the three bidders were rejected by its creditors, according to local reports.
Turkish operator Turkcell was considered most likely to buy Vivacom, formerly Bulgarian Telecommunications Company or BTC, but the deal fell through after Turkcell demanded that a significant part of the price, €100-200 million, be deposited in an escrow account until the state solves a dispute with earlier buyers of Vivacom, Bulgarian newspaper Capital Weekly reported, citing unnamed sources.
Turkcell is said to have submitted a bid exceeding €870 million. Turkcell earlier rejected reports which claimed the operator had valued Vivacom at around $1.4 billion.
Three binding bids of undisclosed amounts were also submitted for Vivacom. UK-based private equity firm Pamplona Capital Management was one of the bidders.
Vivacom creditors found the bids made by Tsvetan Vassilev, the head of Bulgaria’s Corporate Commercial Bank, and Iceland’s businessman Thor Bjorgolfsson too low, but there may still be a slight chance of a deal with Turkcell, said the report.
Turkcell said in March that it will bid for a 93.99% stake in Vivacom, as the sole strategic investor in the tender. Morgan Stanley is acting as advisor to Vivacom creditors for the planned sale.
Vivacom — majority owned by private equity investor PineBridge, controlled by Hong Kong entrepreneur Richard Li — was put up for sale after breaching terms on loans in 2011. GTB
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