VTB Capital Eyeing Vivacom Sale, Bostandjiev Says

VTB Capital, the investment banking unit of Russia’s second-biggest state-run lender, is considering the acquisition of Vivacom AD, Bulgaria’s biggest fixed-line phone company, together with the Sofia-based Corporate Commercial Bank AD., said Atanas Bostandjiev, chief executive officer of VTB Capital Plc.

“We are looking at the deal in partnership with the Corporate Commercial Bank,” Bostandjiev said in an interview in Sofia today. “It is a very complex transaction and it is too early to say anything more specific.”

Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS, the biggest Turkish mobile-phone company, may make a bid for Vivacom AD, valuing the Bulgarian company at about $1.4 billion, people with knowledge of the process said earlier today.

“This valuation is too huge,” Bostandjiev said.

Vivacom is majority-owned by PineBridge Investments LLC, Hong Kong businessman Richard Li’s investment-management firm. Vivacom breached terms on 1.6 billion euros ($2.1 billion) of loans a year ago, which led to its sale. The loans were arranged by Deutsche Bank AG, UBS AG and UniCredit SpA, along with Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc to finance Vivacom’s 2007 buyout, Bloomberg data shows.

Icelandic billionaire Thor Bjorgolfsson, who controlled the company between 2005 and 2007, filed a bid in partnership with Panos Germanos, founder of Germanos SA, a Greek phone services retailer, Capital newspaper reported yesterday, citing unidentified people. The third company to have filed a binding bid by the Feb. 27 deadline, is Pamplona Capital Management LLP, a London-based private equity investor, according to Capital.

The sale is managed by Morgan Stanley in London, hired by Vivacom’s creditors.

(Fixes bank name in second paragraph.)
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