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Schoenherr is reporting that the United Group's EUR 1.2 billion acquisition of Vivacom (Bulgarian Telecommunications Company EAD), the largest telecom operator in Bulgaria — the deal that was signed in November 2019 and won CEE Legal Matters' 2019 Deal of the Year for Bulgaria — has closed. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison acted as lead English counsel to the United Group, while CMS and Kambourov & Partners were, respectively, English and Bulgarian counsel to the sellers.

2019 was an outstanding year for Ukrainian gas sector, as the country managed to complete the most critical parts of the unbundling of the gas transmission system in a timely manner. The year was also remarkable because, in twelve months, we saw three different unbundling models proposed by the Government, forcing the participants of the unbundling process and the key stakeholders to quickly adapt to the new rules and scenarios. For most of the year the country planned to implement an ownership unbundling model. However, in September 2019, before the third round of trilateral Ukraine-Russia-EU talks on gas transit, the unbundling plan took a U-turn, when the newly appointed Ukrainian Government, in its Resolution 840 (the “New Unbundling Resolution”), decided to switch to the independent system operator (ISO) model.

Since 2008 joint stock companies in Ukraine have functioned under a special corporate governance law (the “JSC Law”), which has improved through the course of its existence. Year after year, with the help of the SEC and the business community, Ukrainian legislators have introduced profound amendments to the law to bring corporate governance in JSCs in Ukraine closer to European standards, to attract foreign investments, and to insure adequate protection of rights of various stakeholders (minority shareholders, creditors, etc.) As a result, Ukraine has moved up in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking, and in 2020 the country ranks 64th in the ease of doing business and 45th in the minority shareholders protection component.

Over the past few years CMS advised the OTP Bank Group on an extensive series of acquisitions across Bulgaria, Moldova, and former Yugoslavia. This series of separate deals was shortlisted for CEE Legal Matters’ CEE Deal of the Year in each of the countries involved, actually winning the 2018 Deal of the Year for Bulgaria and the 2019 Deal of the Year Award for Montenegro. We reached out to Eva Talmacsi, who led CMS’s multi-jurisdictional team, to learn more about the firm’s impressive work on OTP’s behalf.

On 20 July 2020, laws governing the activities of financial marketplaces came into force, namely, Federal Law* No. 211-FZ “On Concluding Financial Transactions Using a Financial Platform” dated 20 July 2020 and Federal Law* No. 212-FZ “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation Concerning the Conclusion of Financial Transactions Using a Financial Platform” dated 20 July 2020 (the “Laws”).

There are currently multiple initiatives regarding the increase in rates for taxes retained at source under double taxation treaties (“DTTs”) between the Russian Federation and some foreign jurisdictions. The Ministry of Finance confirmed that it favours such increases. At the same time, the Russian State Duma reportedly favours maintaining reduced tax rates in DTTs for intragroup payments in order to mitigate any eventual adverse tax consequences by these new tax measures for foreign investors.

The Turunc Law Firm has advised a group of private investors led by Cetin Yilmaz on their acquisition of MCI's majority stake in online travel agency Tatilbudur from Polish private equity fund MCI. The Yalcin Babalioglu Kemahli Attorney Partnership advised MCI on the deal, while Akol Law advised shareholder Is Girisim. Tatilbudur was reportedly advised by Yondem Yigit Uclertopragi.

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