Wolf Theiss Advises 4iG on Albanian Acquisitions

Telco

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Wolf Theiss has announced that it advised 4iG Nyrt. on the acquisition, followed by merger clearance, of two important players in the Albanian telecommunications market: ALBtelecom, the largest fixed network operator, and One Communications, one of the two largest mobile telecom operators.

Wolf Theiss acted as legal advisor for the Hungarian IT and technology group in the acquisition of a majority stake of 80.27% in ALBtelecom, the leading landline voice, internet and TV provider in Albania. The signing took place on Dec. 8, 2021, with the closing approved by the Albanian Competition Authority on March 4.

4iG Nyrt., a company listed on the Hungarian stock exchange, acquired the stake in the Albanian telecom operator from a subsidiary of Calik Holding, one of Turkey’s leading privately held industrial groups. A few weeks later, 4iG also successfully acquired a majority stake of 99.899% in One Telecommunications.

Wolf Theiss assisted 4iG Nyrt. with the Albanian regulatory approvals, especially related to the merger clearance. For the successful completion of this regional engagement, the Wolf Theiss team involved in the project was led by Richard Clegg (a corporate/M&A partner), Nako Sokol (a partner in Albania), and Norbert Bálint (a Hungarian counsel specializing in corporate/M&A and capital markets work).

Irina Dekova (a corporate/M&A consultant) and Kristaq Profkola (an associate from Albania) also played an important role in the project team. The core team was further supported by other Wolf Theiss lawyers in Albania, Hungary and Bulgaria. Istanbul-based law firm Yavuz & Uyanik & Akalin advised on elements of the transaction involving Turkish law.

Complex Transaction

“For such a complex transaction as the acquisition of ALBtelecom, in which a package of contracts and declarations under four different jurisdictions must be in place, you need a really professional team,” commented Csaba Vezekényi, the legal manager of 4iG Nyrt.

“I would like to emphasize my gratitude to the whole team again, not just for the successful closing but for the client-friendly, client-supportive attitude,” he added.

Clegg, from Wolf Theiss, commented: “The clearance of the 4iG-ALBtelecom / One Communications transactions is a landmark case, as it required complex analysis carried out quickly by the Albanian Competition Authority (ACA), particularly considering the novelty of the case and the market consultation exercise undertaken by the authority.”

He added: “The consolidation from three to two operators resulting from the acquisitions led to an in-depth phase two review of the mergers by ACA and is a precedent-setting case for the telecom sector in the Albanian market.”

Founded in 1957, Wolf Theiss is one of the leading law firms in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CEE/SEE). It says it has built its reputation on unrivaled local knowledge supported by strong international capabilities. With more than 360 lawyers in 13 countries, 80% of the firm’s work involves cross-border representation of international clients in Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. The firm says it develops comprehensive and constructive solutions based on legal, fiscal and business know-how.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of June 3, 2022.

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