Multi-billion deal sees Emirati operator acquire telco assets in four CEE countriesReading Time: 2 minutes
Emirates Telecommunication Group Company (e&) will buy a 50% plus one share in PPF Group’s telecommunications assets in Bulgaria (mobile operator Yettel Bulgaria), Hungary (Yettel Hungary), Serbia (Yettel Serbia) and Slovakia (O2 Slovakia).
The United Arab Emirates-based telco holding company, formerly Etisalat, will pay EUR 2.15bn upfront and up to a further EUR 350mn over three years, depending on performance, with the aim of building up a major telecommunications business in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).
The Emirati operator called the takeover “an unparalleled opportunity to establish a strong presence and foster developments within the CEE region”, in a statement released on Tuesday, 1 August.
E& is the largest telecommunications company in the UAE. Founded in 1976 as a telephone company, the global telecommunications group has 164 million customers in 16 other countries: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Algeria, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Togo and Chad.
The transaction is expected to close in or before the first quarter of 2024 and is subject to regulatory approvals. If financial targets are not met the transaction will be subject to a claw back of up to EUR 75mn.
E& Group CEO Hatem Dowidar said “this exciting partnership with PPF Group in Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia, and Slovakia exemplifies our commitment to seeking new opportunities for collaboration and investment opportunities that will further accelerate our expansion. By combining PPF Telecom’s expertise with our own innovative capabilities, we are poised to establish a major telecommunications presence in CEE.”
PPF Group CEO Jiri Smejc said “The purchase price of up to EUR 2.5bn, including contractual earn-out payments, represents one of the largest ever deals for PPF.”
PPF Telecom is owned by Renata Kellnerova, the widow of Czech billionaire Petr Kellner and its Czech assets such as O2 Czech Republic and telecommunications infrastructure provider Cetin are excluded from the deal. It provides mobile and data services, fixed line services and Internet TV, and is also active in financial services, media, real estate, biotech, transport and services.