Advent international, the global private equity firm, has granted an option to buy The Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC) to Novator Holdings, a company controlled by Icelandic businessman Thor Bjorgolfsson.
Under the terms of the deal Novator may exercise an option to acquire Viva Ventures Holding GmbH, the holding company that owns 65 percent of BTC, any time up to June 2008, representing Advent’s final exit.
It also offers an exit route for Advent’s financial partners, including Enterprise Investors, the EBRD, NBG Venture Capital, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Alpha Associates, the Dutch Development Bank, DEG and Mezzanine Management. The last of these groups today announced that the refinancing of BTC represented the first realisation for its Central European fund, Accession Mezzanine Capital (AMC), which currently has €115 million under management.
Advent and its partners acquired its stake in the company for €230 million ($277 million) in June 2004, following a two-year privatisation process. The deal included commitments to a €50 million capital increase and a €400 million investment programme.
BTC has since increased the digitalisation of its network and launched new services such as ADSL broadband. Last September it launched a mobile phone service under the vivatel brand.