Niel’s Acquisition of Datagroup-Volia: A Step Towards Ukraine’s Telecom Supremacy

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In an intriguing move, French billionaire and European telco group, iliad owner, Xavier Niel, pronounced his intention to purchase Datagroup-Volia, Ukraine’s foremost fixed telecom and pay TV provider. This acquisition, orchestrated through his firm NJJ, for an unspecified amount, has acquired the necessary regulatory approval.

Datagroup-Volia holds the interest of prominent stakeholders, with a fund managed by US private equity firm Horizon Capital owning 96.13% and Datagroup-Volia CEO Mykhaylo Shelemba owning 3.87%.

After the purchase is sealed, NJJ has plans to incorporate Datagroup-Volia with Lifecell, Ukraine’s rapidly expanding, third-largest mobile operator. However, this is hinging on receiving the requisite regulatory approval for Lifecell’s acquisition. Once the merger is complete, the combined entity will be under the leadership of Shelemba and is set to offer mobile connectivity to a community of 10 million Ukrainians. Additionally, it’s fixed network will extend to accommodate four million establishments across the country.

Earlier this year, NJJ announced their acquisition of various Ukrainian units, including Lifecell, from Turkcell, for a hefty sum of $500 million. This deal is under the microscope, pending regulatory checks, approval from the Ukrainian competition authority among them.

Xavier Niel shared his enthusiasm for the move, labelling it as “a significant step towards the creation of a national Ukrainian telecom champion.” Niel, clearly smitten by Ukraine’s potential, commented, “Ukraine is home to an impressive tech sector with innovation in artificial intelligence, a high degree of digitalisation and technological affinity. We are confident that our landmark transaction will serve as a signal to others that the time to invest in Ukraine is now, to support the rebuilding of the country and realise its potential.”

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