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Austrian ORS Renews Bid for Bulgaria's Telco Radio, TV Systems

Date: 17.11.2009

Austria's Oesterreichische Rundfunksender (ORS) has renewed its offer for the acquisition of the broadcasting unit of the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company, which was recently rebranded as Vivacom, the company announced.

ORS proposed to acquire the broadcasting network National Unit Radio and TV Systems (NURTS) under full ownership conditions.

“We renewed our direct offer, since we strongly believe that in our capacity of a strategic foreign investorthe specific experience in the field and the proven operational reliability, we are able and we are committed to provide the necessary quality, stability and security of the services as well as all needed upgrades”, Michael Wagenhofer, ORS Managing Director stated on Monday.

In December 2008 ORS signed a preliminary agreement with BTC Group for the NURTS acquisition, after winning an international tender consulted by the investment bank Lazard.

The deal stumbled in March after the regulatory authorities, the Communications Regulation Commission, said it needed four more months to give the green light to the deal.

The terms of the agreement expired in June 2009 without a conclusion of the acquisition.

“The processes from January to June 2009 have been delayed because of various reasons, partly of institutional, legislative and regulatory origin”, Wagenhofer said.

The price of the deal was not disclosed, but according to insiders ORS paid EUR 80 M for a majority share in the company and pledged to invest another BGN 100 M in an upgrade of the radio and television towers.

NURTS, presently a division within Vivacom (BTC Group), covers nearly all of Bulgaria with its network of radio and television broadcasting services. It has a key position on the analogue broadcasting market through its network of TV towers and retranslation facilities covering the entire territory of the country and transmitting the programmes of the major TV and radio operators.

Bulgaria has to wrap up the analogue television switch-off by December 2012.

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