Tension is rising, as the second 2019 CEE Deal of the Year finalist is removed from the shortlist, leaving only three nominees in contention for this year's most prestigious award.
Just to recap: CEE Legal Matters is counting down towards Friday's revelation of the 2019 CEE Deal of the Year winner by eliminating another nominee from the shortlist. On Tuesday the Severgroup’s Acquisition of TPG’s 34% Shareholding in Lenta and Subsequent Mandatory Tender Offer was removed from the list, and today's unlucky contender is the United Group’s Acquisition of Vivacom Bulgaria.
In that EUR 1.2 billion deal, the United Group, which is owned by BC Partners, and which Schoenherr described in its submission as "the leading telecoms and media business operating in South Eastern Europe," acquired Vivacom Bulgaria (Bulgarian Telecommunications Company AD), the largest telecoms operator in Bulgaria. Schoenherr, which advised the United Group on the deal, described it as "the largest deal in Bulgaria in 2019 both in terms of value and size of the asset," and reported that it "comes as part of the United Group's plans to expand in south-eastern Europe." Latham & Watkins worked on the buy-side as well, with CMS and Kambourov & Partners advising the sellers.
Thus, with those two deals removed from the shortlist, the three remaining contenders for 2019 CEE Deal of the Year are:
- Advent International and Zentiva’s Acquisition of Alvogen’s CEE Business (CMS (submitting firm); Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; White & Case)
- The PPF Group’s Acquisition of CME (White & Case (submitting firm); Allen & Overy; Bondoc si Asociatii; Covington & Burling; Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov; Karanovic & Partners; Sullivan & Cromwell)
- Steinhoff Restructuring (Wolf Theiss (submitting firm); Allen & Overy; Binder Groesswang; Dorda; Eisenberger & Herzog; Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner; Gleiss Lutz; Linklaters; Latham & Watkins; Kirkland & Ellis)
On Thursday, one more nominee will be asked to leave the island, and CEE Legal Matters will reveal which two of the three finalists remain in contention.