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Scenarios over BC Partners’ intention to withdraw from United Group


BC Partners' intention to withdraw from United Group triggered scenarios over what will happen with Nova and in general with the Greek telecoms market

After the acquisition of Wind, Nova completed a year of operation as a telecommunications company offering all kinds of services, such as fixed and mobile telephony, internet and pay TV.

The investment fund BC Partners has completed 5 years, with its 55% stake in UG (the remaining percentage belongs to the Serbian businessman, Dragan Solak). Funds usually have a life cycle of 5 years in the companies they invest in.

According to banking circles, BC Partners has approached Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan in order to examine a possible sale of UG.

Such a transaction will not happen overnight, especially as we are talking about a company with activity in five countries (besides Greece, in Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia) in telecoms and media with a multi-billion valuation.

United Group recorded EBITDA (adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of 751.2 million euros in the nine-month period of 2023, while it recently issued new bonds totaling 1.73 billion euros and its loans stand at about 4 billion euros.

As estimated by business circles, it will be difficult to find a European body interested in UG. Potential buyers could be the United Arab Emirates telecommunications company Etisalat or Saudi Telecom, which last year bought 100% of United Group’s mobile phone tower network in Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia.

Based on the above, it is considered possible to attempt to sell the UG companies separately.

As for Nova, its parent company UG will be sold either as a single company or it will change shareholders and proceed according to their plan and without broader changes in the country’s telecommunications market.

There are many scenarios for the Nova to be sold on its own. According to sources, the sale of UG has not yet advanced.

According to another scenario, PPC is reportedly interested in Nova, but none of the parties has confirmed it for two main reasons: The energy company is entering telecommunications by building a fiber optic network with investments of 680 million euros until 2026. One of its shareholders is the US fund active in Greece, CVC (it also participates in the health sectors in Vivartia and National Insurance).

Meanwhile, PPC itself avoids confirming its plans for telecommunications with the market not understanding how it will reach the final consumer (what it will do with the retail sector). This supports the scenario that it may be a potential buyer of Nova.