The European Commission (EC) has approved the acquisition by the investment group PPF of four Telenor subsidiaries serving CEE (Central and Eastern Europe).
The agreement, which was first made public in March, will see PPF take over Telenor’s local operators in Bulgaria, Hungary, Montenegro and Serbia. Additionally, the Norwegian group’s regional network and IT business Telenor Common Operation will be included in the transaction, which is valued at €2.8 billion.
Several companies were believed to have expressed interests in the assets before PPF emerged as the forerunner. The EC stated that while PPF already has a presence in the CEE region, with its assets including O2’s unit in the Czech Republic, the acquisition does not threaten competition.
The EC statement said that the deal “would not give rise to horizontal overlaps, as the companies’ activities are confined to the different territories in which they hold their respective telecommunications licences. In addition, the Commission found that the vertical links between the upstream and downstream markets for retail, mobile and fixed telecommunications services arising from the transaction would be unproblematic.”
Telenor is divesting assets that do not align with its new strategy, which focuses on its markets in Scandinavia and Asia. The operator has stated that it will fund a shareholder dividend via the PPF deal.