United Group has accused the leader of one of Bulgaria’s coalition partners of interference in its proposed acquisition of Bulsatcom.
On Wednesday, former Bulgarian prime minister Kiril Petkov suggested any approval of the transaction by Bulgaria’s Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) could harm competition in the sector.
“This behaviour violates Bulgarian and EU legislation,” United said in a statement. “We believe in the independence of Bulgarian institutions and in their ability to oppose the overt interference of political leaders.”
Last December, the CPC opened an in-depth investigation into the purchase amid concerns that on completion Bulsatcom and United Group’s Vivacom would between them hold 60% of the country’s pay-TV market in terms of subscribers.
BC Partners-owned United Group entered Bulgaria with the acquisition of the incumbent telco Vivacomduring a period of rapid expansion when it also bought assets in Croatia (Tele2) and Greece (Forthnet). Shortly afterwards it also secured Nova Group, one of Bulgaria’s two leading commercial broadcasters, as well as a number of smaller interests including the local TV and internet operators Net1 and ComNet.