Schoenherr advised the United Group on the acquisition of Net1, a leading telecom operator in Sofia. Our role in the transaction included structuring, advising on the equity and financing parts of the deal, drafting and negotiation of the transaction documentation, and preparation for merger clearance. The combination and interplay of M&A elements and financing elements made this deal particularly complex. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals which are expected to be obtained in the second quarter of 2021.
Most recently, Ilko Stoyanov supported by Katerina Kaloyanova-Toshkova (attorney at law) also advised the United Group on the acquisition of Digital Cable Television operating under the brand name N3, a leading telecommunications operator in the city of Plovdiv. The signing of the share purchase agreement took place on 23 February 2021. Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.
Both acquisitions further strengthen the United Group’s position in the market for fixed services in Bulgaria where it is a leading Internet provider, as well as the third largest provider in the pay-TV services segment. The deals are part of the company's strategy to provide bundled services and to be the preferred provider for all telecommunications needs whether household or business.
“We were excited to support United Group on its consecutive acquisitions in Bulgaria and on building its portfolio across the region. These were great m&a transactions in the telecoms sector for our team,” said Schoenherr Bulgaria partner Ilko Stoyanov, who also co-heads the local corporate practice.
The United Group, is the leading multi-play telecoms and media business operating in South Eastern Europe, owned by BC Partners, providing customers with a full range of telecommunications services. The Group provides services to 1.8m households. The United Group entered the Bulgarian market in 2020 with the acquisition of Vivacom (again with the legal support of Schoenherr). This was the largest deal in Bulgaria both in terms of value and size of assets.
Net1 is among the leading operators in the Sofia region providing internet and pay-TV services to residential users as well as integrated telecoms solutions for businesses, including services such as IT support, telephony, and video surveillance. According to data from the Communications Regulation Commission for 2019 (the last officially available), its pay-TV subscribers total nearly 50,000, and in broadband – about 30,000.
N3 is the second largest cable provider in the second largest city in Bulgaria – Plovdiv. The company provides digital television and Internet for household and business needs. Its services are based on new technologies and a well-maintained infrastructure. It offers over 200 digital channels, 20 of which have High Definition resolution.
In addition, N3 offers the free N3play app to its customers which provides the ability to watch 50 TV channels on mobile devices.
The Schoenherr team advising the United Group on the Net1 transaction was led by Ilko Stoyanov (partner) and Tsvetan Krumov (head of B&F). They were supported by Katerina Kaloyanova-Toshkova (attorney at law), Milena Gabrovska (attorney at law), and Galina Petkova (attorney at law), who did the merger filing. The seller was advised by its inside legal counsels.
The Schoenherr team advising the United Group on the N3 transaction was led by Ilko Stoyanov (partner), supported by Katerina Kaloyanova-Toshkova (attorney at law), and Galina Petkova (attorney at law), who did the merger filing.