Consortium completes €1.2bn Bulgarian LBO

ABM Amro Capital, Citigroup Investments and Communication Venture Partners are the lead sponsors of the €1.2bn cash takeover of Bulgaria’s MobilTel Holding that closed last week.

An international consortium comprising seven institutionally backed private equity funds has completed the €1.2 billion ($1.45 billion) leveraged buyout of MobilTel Holding, a Bulgarian mobile telephony operator.

According to press statements, ABM Amro Capital, Citigroup Investments and Communication Venture Partners led the equity syndicate that also comprised Innova Capital, Sandler Capital Management, Global Finance and 3TS Venture Partners. The syndicate invested €450 million in return for a 40 percent stake in the company.

Three of MobilTel’s existing shareholders, Austrian private investors Martin Schlaff, Josef Taus and Herbert Cordt, also invested in the buyout, reducing their combined stake by 10 percent to 60 percent. Bawag, the Austrian trade union bank, realised its 30 percent interest in MobilTel through the LBO.

The deal is the largest leveraged buyout to complete in Central and Eastern Europe to date. To fund it, ABN Amro Bank, Citigroup and ING arranged a €650 million syndicated corporate loan, which ranks as Bulgaria’s largest. The new owners also assumed €100m of MobilTel debt.

The deal, first announced in May, was completed last week in Sofia.