Viva Telecom takes control of Vivacom

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Consortium led by Bulgarian businessman Spas Roussev takes 46% stake in Bulgarian operator

Bulgarian businessman Spas Roussev’s Viva Telecom consortium has taken control of Vivacom after winning a €330 million auction.

However, the sale faces a legal challenge in an English court from Russian businessman Dmitry Kosarev, according to Reuters.

The auction, which began in November, was linked to the collapse of Bulgarian lender Corpbank whose major shareholder, Tsvetan Vassilev, controlled 43% of Vivacom. Russian investment firm VTB Capital launched the sale after a default on a €150 million loan to Vivacom holding firm InterV Investment.

VTB confirmed on Wednesday that a consortium led by Roussev had won the auction, with the Vivacom taking control of 100% of InterV’s shares. The deal was approved by Bulgarian regulators in January.

"On August 30, 2016, the sale of 100% of shares in InterV Investment, a Luxembourg-based holding company for Bulgarian Telecommunications Company, (with the trade name Vivacom), was successfully completed," VTB Bank said.

"The company was acquired by Viva Telecom, a consortium headed by Spas Roussev, its largest shareholder, and various minority investors, including VTB," it said in a statement.

The deal sees Viva Telecom take a 46% stake in Vivacom, taking control from VTB which now has a 20% stake (minus one share). A further 19% is held by Delta Capital, with the rest held by former creditors of Vivacom, according to sources close to the deal.

Kosarev said his company Empreno Ventures intends to continue High Court proceedings against the sale. He claims to have bought Vassilev’s stake in Viva Telecom.