Bulgaria’s Vivacom for sale following resolution of ownership spat

Bulgaria’s Vivacom for sale following resolution of ownership spat

Shareholders in the Bulgarian operator Vivacom have confirmed that the unit is to be put up for sale.

The announcement was made by Bulgarian businessman Spas Roussev, who leads a consortium that acquired Vivacom at auction in 2015. However, since this acquisition there has been a spate of legal disputes relating to both the auction process and the legitimate ownership of the company’s shares.

Roussev announced the intention to sell Vivacom just hours after the Commercial Court of England and Wales ruled that his consortium legally owned the operator, in an apparent attempt to draw a line under the issue. Nonetheless, the Financial Times reported that parties interested in acquiring Vivacom were being warned about the ownership disputes.

However, a statement from Vivacom following the court’s decision was bullish, saying: “Having already been defeated multiple times in the Luxembourg and Bulgarian courts, the claimants turned to England arguing that the sale was a sham, took place at an undervalue and should be set aside. After six days of hearings, the English judge dismissed and struck out the latest set of claims in their entirety.”

Roussev struck a similarly defiant tone, adding: “This company was acquired through an entirely legitimate competitive sales process. The claimants have tried to challenge the transfer of ownership in a variety of ways ever since.”

Companies and consortia with Roussev at the helm have been implicated in a number of rumoured mobile asset sales across the Balkan region over the past few months, with a Roussev-affiliated company reaching an agreement to acquire OTE’s Albanian operations.

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