Bulgarian competition regulator allows Vivacom to buy former subsidiary
Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) has allowed telecom carrier Vivacom to purchase infrastructure company Nurts, a former subsidiary that was sold in 2011. The regulator said that it approved the proposed deal at its meeting on June 3, but the decision was posted on its website on June 8.
Nurts was spun off from Bulgarian Telecommunications Company – the former fixed-line monopolist that now operates under the Vivacom name – in 2010, as part of Bulgaria’s efforts to speed up the construction of multiplex facilities as part of its switchover to digital broadcasting of free-to-air television stations.
The two buyers, Cyprus-registered Mancelord and United Arab Emirates-registered Bluesat, were alleged to be controlled by banker Tsvetan Vassilev, majority shareholder in now-bankrupt Corporate Commercial Bank, according to reports in Bulgarian media. Vassilev was later claimed to have acquired control of Vivacom as well.
CPC’s ruling made no reference to the impounding of Nurts shares by the National Revenue Agency earlier this year, following the announcement by Luxembourg-registered special-purpose vehicle LIC33 that it intended to buy 43 per cent in Vivacom and majority stakes in six other companies controlled by Vassilev, which has stirred controversy in Bulgaria.