SOFIA (Bulgaria), February 3 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's competition authority said on Monday that it has granted approval to Sofia-based Nova Broadcasting Group to acquire the remaining 30% it does not control in local online media and e-commerce group Net Info.
The deal does not have the potential to lead to the establishment or strengthening of a dominant market position, or to substantially threaten competition on the local market, the Commission for Protection of Competition said in its decision.
The 30% shareholding interest is currently controlled by local Darik Radio and Web Finance. According to commercial register data, Darik Radio controls a 27% stake in Net Info, while Web Finance has 3% interest.
In September 2017, Darik Radio and Web Finance exercised their put option forcing Nova Broadcasting Group to acquire their interest in Net Info. The transaction was delayed as the competition regulator decided in 2018 to postpone its ruling due to the then ongoing attempt of Czech-owned PPF group to acquire Nova Broadcasting Group.
The competition regulator banned PPF's deal for the acquisition of Nova Broadcasting Group in July 2018, and its decision was appealed before court. The regulator then announced that it will resume work on the Net Info case only after the court has issued its ruling regarding PPF's deal for Nova Broadcasting Group.
Subsequently, the court case was dismissed as the complaints were retracted. Modern Times Group (MTG) then agreed the sale of its 95% stake in Nova Broadcasting Group to Bulgaria's Advance Media Group in an all-cash deal which valued 100% of Nova at 185 million euro ($204.7 million).
Advance Media Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Advance Properties, which in turn is jointly owned by Bulgarian investors Kiril Domuschiev and Georgi Domuschiev.
($ = 0.9037 euro)