Under the sales and purchase deal, it will secure the 17.41% share currently held by HT and 36.90% owned by Zagrebacka Bank.
United Group already provides telecom services in Croatia through its subsidiary Telemach Croatia. It is spending €130 million on modernising Telemach Croatia’s mobile network to improve quality, expand coverage and offer a full 5G service. It is also investing €100 million to build a state-of-the-art fibre optic network on which it is already offering Croatian customers fixed telephony and superfast broadband internet with speeds from 300 Mbps to 2 Gbps.
Once the deal has been completed, the 125,000 broadband subscribers and 55,000 pay-TV customers served by Optima Telekom will gradually benefit from these investments and new modern services.
Under the terms of the agreement, completion of the deal is contingent on a change in Croatia’s Electronic Media Act, which now prohibits vertical integration between pay-TV broadcasters and distributors. The deal is also conditional upon approval by relevant competition authorities.
Commenting on the transaction, Telemach Croatia CEO Adrian Jezina said: “This agreement is a step further in our plan to transform Telemach Croatia into a fully converged telecom operation offering the full range of telco services – including TV – on our own infrastructure.
“The Croatian parliament is expected to review the Electronic Media Act soon and we are confident that the law will be changed soon and aligned with practices in other EU member states, allowing us to complete this deal and add TV to our wider telco offering”.
Optima is listed on Zagreb stock exchange. After obtaining regulatory approvals, United Group will launch a tender offer for Optima’s outstanding stock.