Bulgaria's Competition Protection Commission (CPC) said on February 19 it has allowed to Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Telecommunications Group Company (Etisalat by e&) to acquire indirect control of mobile operator Yettel Bulgaria and telecoms infrastructure provider Cetin Bulgaria from Czech PPF Group.

The sale was agreed in August as part of a larger deal between the two companies. PPF Group decided to sell 50% plus one share of its telecoms assets in Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia to Etisalat by e& for up to €2.5bn.

According to CPC’s ruling, the deal will not have a significant impact on local competitors, including the provision of wholesale international roaming services and voice termination services, as well as the retail of mobile telecommunications services.

The proposed deal will also not lead to horizontal overlap on any Bulgarian markets on which the e& and PPF groups operate.

Etisalat is 60% owned by the United Arabic Emirates government, and the remaining 40% is traded publicly. The company was founded in 1976 and currently provides services to 155.4mn customers across 16 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

CEO Hatem Dowidar said in August when the deal was announced that e& "continues on its path to be a leading global technology group” focusing on “expanding our customer base”, and added that “by combining PPF Telecom’s expertise with our own innovative capabilities, we are poised to establish a major telecommunications presence in Central and Eastern Europe.”

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