Schoenherr, working with Sullivan & Cromwell, has advised the Emirates Telecommunications Group Company – operating as E& – on its acquisition of a 50%-plus-one-share stake in PPF Telecom Group's assets in Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia, and Slovakia. White & Case and Karanovic & Partners advised the PPF Group on the up to EUR 2.5 billion sale and the setup of a joint venture with E&.
Closing is expected in the first quarter of 2024, pending regulatory approval. The agreement was signed on August 1, 2023.
According to Karanovic & Partners, the target assets comprise Yettel Bulgaria, Yettel Hungary, Yettel Serbia, and the O2 Slovakia service operations and the CETIN and O2 Networks infrastructure businesses in these countries that are fully carved out and managed independently of the service companies.
As announced by E&, the upfront consideration for the acquisition is EUR 2.15 billion, while the transaction also includes earn-out and clawback payments depending on the achievement of certain financial targets. According to PPF, its existing assets in the Czech Republic will be transferred outside the PPF Telecom Group and not be part of the transaction.
The Emirates Telecommunications Group Company (doing business as Etisalat by E&) is an Emirati-based multinational telecommunications services provider currently operating in 16 countries across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
The PPF Group is a privately held international financial and investment group founded in 1991 in Czechoslovakia and residing in the Netherlands. The PPF Group invests in multiple market segments such as financial services, telecommunications, biotechnology, real estate, and mechanical engineering.
According to Schoenherr, the transaction is consistent with E&'s strategic ambition to accelerate international growth and diversify into new geographies.
"By combining PPF Telecom's expertise with our own innovative capabilities, we are poised to establish a major telecommunications presence in Central and Eastern Europe," E& CEO Hatem Dowidar commented. "We aim to realize synergies, optimize procurement efficiencies, and enhance customer offerings, establishing our position as a leading global tech group."
The Schoenherr team was led by Partners Alexandra Doytchinova and Luka Lopicic and included Partners Christoph Haid, Kinga Hetenyi, and Sona Hekelova, Counsel Michal Lucivjansky, and Attorneys at Law Katerina Kaloyanova-Toshkova, Adrian Menczelesz, and Pavle Eric.
The White & Case team was led by Partners Jan Andrusko and Caroline Sherrell and included Prague-based Partners Jan Stejskal, Jan Jakoubek, Jonathan Weinberg, and Petr Hudec and Associates Iva Cechrakova, Lukas Pavlik, and Tadeas Matys, with further lawyers in London.
The Karanovic & Partners team included Partners Milos Jakovljevic and Bojan Vuckovic and Senior Associate Sava Draca.
Editor's Note: After this article was published, DGKV announced it had advised PPF on Bulgarian law. The firm's team included Partners Violetta Kunze, Nikolai Gouginski, and Valentin Bojilov and Senior Associate Milka Ivanova.