Bulgaria’s competition regulator clears proposed acquisition of Yettel by Emirates’ e&

Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) has approved the proposed acquisition by Emirates Telecommunications Group Company of 50 per cent plus one share in PPF Telecom Group’s assets in Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia.

PPF Group’s major telecommunications holdings in Bulgaria are Yettel Bulgaria, one of the country’s three major telecom carriers, and Cetin Bulgaria, a telecom infrastructure firm.

Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Telecommunications Group Company, known also as Etisalat and operating under the e& brand, does not have any significant current operations in Bulgaria, which was the main factor cited by the CPC in its decision to allow the deal to go ahead.

The proposed sale raised the objections of Vivacom, one of Yettel Bulgaria’s competitors on the telecoms market, which argued that Etisalat would control two major Bulgarian carriers if the deal was completed.

In its brief to the regulator, Vivacom claimed that Etisalat already controlled Britain’s Vodafone, which in turned controlled A1 Bulgaria, the other major telecom provider in the country.

CPC rejected Vivacom’s argument saying that A1 Bulgaria only had a partnership agreement with Vodafone to provide some of the latter’s services, while Etisalat’s minority stake of less than 15 per cent in Vodafone did not qualify as a controlling one.

PPF Group bought Yettel Bulgaria in 2018 as part of the acquisition of Norwegian company Telenor’s business in Central and Eastern Europe. A year later, it acquired Central European Media Enterprises Ltd, which includes Bulgaria’s bTV media group, which is not part of the proposed deal with Etisalat.

(Yettel logo: yettel.bg)

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