Latham & Watkins and Schoenherr have advised Telenor on its agreement to sell its assets in Central and Eastern Europe to the PPF Group for EUR 2.8 billion on an enterprise value basis. White and Case (as lead counsel) and Karanovic & Nikolic advised PPF Group on the deal. Allen & Overy, BDK Advokati, and Boyanov & Co. advised Societe Generale, as agent, and a syndicate of banks on a EUR 3.05 billion credit facility provided to PPF Group for the acquisition, which is expected to close in Q3 2018 and is subject to the relevant merger control and regulatory approvals.
Telenor sells its business in Eastern Europe, including Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Montenegro, where it services more than nine million customers and generates nine percent of the group's total revenue and eight percent of group's total profit. The deal also includes technology service provider Telenor Common Operation. The exit from Eastern Europe follows Telenor's commitment to focus on Scandinavian and the fast-growing Asian markets where the company is already present in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand and Malaysia.
According to White & Case, this is the largest M&A transaction ever in the CEE telecom sector, and the largest loan syndication in the region since 2011.
The PPF Group — one of the largest investment funds in CEE — previously acquired O2’s mobile business in Slovakia and the Czech telecoms infrastructure business Cetin.
Latham & Watkins's team was led by London Partner Robbie McLaren with Associates Katie Peek, Jennifer Cadet, and Laura Connolly.
Schoenherr's team was led by Belgrade Partner Luka Lopicic, working with Belgrade Attorney at Law Bojan Rajic, Sofia Partner Alexandra Doytchinova and Associate Stela Pavlova, and Budapest Partner Zita Albert and Attorney at Law Marton Gervai.
The White & Case team advising on the transaction was led by London Partners Ken Barry and Ian Bagshaw and Prague Partner Jan Andrusko, and included London Partners Lindsey Canning, Colin Harley, and Michael Wistow, Prague Partner Jonathan Weinberg, Prague Local Partners Jan Stejskal and Tomas Jine, London Associates Joe Bradley, Chris Ewing, and Paul Harrington, and Prague Associates Jan Jakoubek, Veronika Merjava and Radek Kraus.
The Karanovic & Nikolic team was led by Partners Rastko Petakovic and Milos Jakovljevic.
The BDK Advokati team included Managing Partner Tijana Kojovic, Senior Associates Dragoljub Sretenovic and Tomislav Popovic, and Consultant Pablo Perez Laya. Partner Luka Popovic provided Montenegrin law advice.
The Boyanov & Co. team consisted of Partners Damian Simeonov and Yordan Naydenov and Senior Associate Ralitsa Nedkova.
Editor's Note: After this article was published Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov announced that it also advised PPF on the deal. According to the firm, "our work included the legal due diligence exercise and drafting of the transaction and the [relevant] financing documentation. DGKV was also assigned to assist the client in obtaining the subsequent necessary regulatory approvals and/or permits regarding the acquisition." The firm's team was led by Partner Violetta Kunze and included Partners Zdravka Ugrinova, Nikolai Gouginski, and Georgi Tzvetkov, Senior Associates Valentin Bojilov, Milka Ivanova, Lilia Kisseva, Silviya Apostolova, Kaloyan Krumov, and Vladislav Antonov, and Associates Lora Aleksandrova, Alexander Shpatov, Dimo Staykov, Kamen Gogov, Tsvetelina Bayraktarova, Galin Atanasoff, and Viktoriya Marincheva.
In addition, Hungary's Szecskay law firm announced that it had worked alongside White & Case in advising PPF on the deal. The firm reports that it "performed legal due diligence of the 3 Hungarian subsidiaries: Telenor Hungary Zrt., Telenor Real Estate Zrt. and Telenor Common Operations Zrt. [and] assisted with complex regulatory and transactional advice," as well as working on the financing of the transaction. The firm's team was led by Senior Partner Orsolya Gorgenyi, with Partner Katalin Szecskay leading on the financing. Team members included Partners Patrick Tausz, Sandor Nemeth, Gusztav Bacher, Katalin Grosz, Aniko Keller, Zoltan Kovacs, Hedi Bozsonyik, and Robert Dezso, Of Counsel Sam Baldwin, Associates Judit Szoradi, Bence Molnar, Adrienn Tar, Gabor Faludi Jr., and Gyorgy Wellmann, and Junior Associate Evelin Szoke.