Greek telecommunications and pay-TV provider Forthnet has officially become part of United Group, a provider of telecommunications services and media in Southeast Europe.
United Group says its entry into the Greek market is another milestone in its European growth strategy and further cements the Dutch-based group’s position as an industry leader, operating in eight countries across the region.
Victoriya Boklag, Chief Executive Officer of United Group, commented: “I’m pleased to welcome our colleagues from Forthnet to the United Group family. We have ambitious plans for the company that will be implemented with the new management team. Forthnet’s Nova brand is well-established in Greece and we see a lot of potential for the business. We have the opportunity to bring to the Greek market more content and more options in entertainment and sports to drive growth in pay-TV services. We’re confident that by applying our expertise in areas such as content and technology, combined with our wider telco offering, we can deliver a top user experience and realize our goals for the business.”
United Group, which is majority owned by BC Partners, announced in June it had agreed to acquire an initial stake of approximately 36 per cent in Forthnet. Since then, United Group has increased its stake to about 80 per cent. By year end, after the company completes the conversion of the Forthnet convertible debt it holds, its stake will rise to approximately 85 per cent .
Under Greek tender offer rules, United Group has triggered the minimum mandatory tender offer requirements and is expected to launch a Mandatory Tender Offer (MTO), which should be completed in Q1 2021.
If United Group acquires at least 90 per cent of the ordinary shares of Forthnet at the completion of the MTO, it will eventually acquire a 100 per cent stake in the company, through a combination of acquisitions in the MTO and/or right to squeeze out any remaining shareholders in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations.
Forthnet is a provider of home entertainment and communications services in Greece, with around 1,000 employees and nearly 1.4 million revenue generating units (RGUs). Forthnet offers its customers more than 60 DTH channels via the brand Nova.
The purchase of Forthnet is United Group’s third major transaction in less than a year, following the acquisitions of Croatia’s Tele2 and Bulgaria’s Vivacom. Together the acquisitions have increased the company’s size to €1.7 billion of pro-forma revenues.