Karanovic & Nikolic has successfully obtained conditional Serbian Competition Commission clearance for SBB's takeover of IKOM.
K&N describes the consolidation of leading cable operators in Belgrade as representing "a landmark case for the Serbian authority and is related to global trends in consolidation of cable network operators, which fosters the investments necessary for improvements to network infrastructure and competition with IPTV, OTT, and satellite content providers." K&N claims that "the merger provided an opportunity for the Commission to investigate the workings of the Serbian telecom sector in detail, especially in relation to fixed telephony, broadband Internet and the distribution of media content."
SBB is a Serbian private telecom operator and provider of digital and analogue cable television, broadband Internet, and fixed telephony. The company is a part of the regional United Group, active across the former Yugoslavia. Since 2014, United Group is majority-owned by the global investment fund KKR. IKOM is one of the major cable operators in Serbia, active on the market for ten years, providing digital and analogue cable television, broadband Internet, and fixed telephony to subscribers predominantly located in Serbia's capital, Belgrade.
In the final decision, K&N reports, SBB has agreed to divest network infrastructure overlapping with IKOM, report to the Commission on pricing changes, and offer IKOM's subscribers specific commercial terms for future cooperation.
Editor's Note: After this article was published, JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic announced that it had advised the sellers ("3 SPVs ultimately owned by 3 individuals, who were the owners of IKOM") on SBB's takeover of I.KOM.
Partners Marko Jovkovic and Jelena Gazivoda led the JPM team advising on the M&A process, while Partner Nikola Poznanovic advised on Competition law aspects of the transaction.