Vivacom Bulgaria ‘up for sale for €1.2bn’ despite legal action

15 July 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Cover

Bulgaria’s Vivacom is up for sale, just three years after the collapse of a bank led to the company being put up for auction.

In August 2016 a consortium led by Bulgarian businessman Spas Roussev announced that it had taken control of Vivacom from VTB, a Russian bank, after bidding €330 million – though the auction itself took place in 2015.

Now, according to reports, the consortium hopes that Vivacom will fetch €1.2 billion in a new sale. Reports say bids are expected by the end of July.

However, Russian businessman Dmitry Kosarev, who was part-owner of the previous holding company, is warning that legal action is still going on about the future of the company.

Kosarev issued the warning via his investment company, Empreno Ventures, registered in the British Virgin Islands.

The Financial Times is reporting that Roussev has appointed the investment bank Lazard to find a buyer and that it has already talked to “potential strategic and private equity buyers”, it said, citing three unnamed sources.

Roussev owns 46% of Vivacom, with an arm of Russian bank VTB owning 20%. Delta Capital International, controlled by Milen Veltchev, former finance minister of Bulgaria, and his brother George Veltchev, owns another chunk.

Kosarev’s action is against members of that consortium, claiming that the €330 million they paid in 2015 undervalued Vivacom. Last week the Commercial Court of England and Wales in London dismissed his claims after six days of hearings.

Two weeks ago Roussev was named as a potential bidder for Telekom Romania, owned by OTE, which itself is controlled by Deutsche Telekom. OTE denied similar reports in January