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Croatian watchdog launches phase II probe into United Group-Tele2 deal

Croatia’s competition watchdog, the AZTN, has begun a Phase II investigation into Tele2’s sale of its local operation to United Group, the Serbia-based service provider that operates services across multiple countries in the western Balkans. 

Tele2 said it would continue to support United Group in its dialogue with the Croatian Competition Agency to obtain clearance. It said that the merger could create even greater value for customers in the future. A decision from the agency is expected in the first half of next year. 

Tele2 said in June that it was selling its Croatian business to United Group for an enterprise value of €220 million. The Swedish group said that the move would allow it to realise value from the successful development of the Croatian business and to further advance its strategy with a focus on the Baltic Sea region.

The purchase marks United Group’s entry into the Croatian market for the first time. The group has been in expansion mode this year, most recently agreeing the acquisition of Bulgaria’s Vivacom. Earlier this month it agreed to acquire the Bulgarian telecom operator for a reported €1.2 billion from BC Partners.