Bulgaria’s Vivacom put up for sale

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Just a day after an English court dismissed an attempt by offshore entities to challenge the ownership of Vivacom, Bulgaria’s largest telecoms company, the Financial Times has reported that the company is now up for sale.

Spas Rusev, the Bulgarian businessman that heads the consortium behind Vivacom, confirmed it is for sale. He said it was expected to make earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation of 190 million euros this year, making it “the most profitable independent vendor in the Balkans”.

The claim on Vivacom’s ownership, by LIC Telecommunications of Luxembourg and Empreno Ventures Limited of the British Virgin Islands, has long sought to set aside the transaction in which Vivacom was sold to its current owners through a competitive sale process, after the company’s previous owners defaulted on a loan.

After six days of hearings, the English judge struck out the latest claims in their entirety.

“This company was acquired through an entirely legitimate competitive sales process. The claimants have tried to challenge the transfer of ownership in a variety of ways ever since.  They have failed.  They have sought to damage the company via the media and through persistent litigation in an attempt to gain control of it.  At every hurdle, they have failed,” said Mr Rusev.

According to the Financial Times, Vivacom could be valued at about 1.2 billion euros based on recent deals in the region, including PPF’s takeover of Telenor’s eastern European telecoms businesses and United Group’s 220 million-euro acquisition of Tele2 in Croatia.