June 7, 2021, Kyiv, Ukraine – Datagroup, a leading national fiber infrastructure and digital services provider in Ukraine, announced today that it has completed the acquisition of Volia, the country’s leading Pay-TV and broadband service provider. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) supported the deal by providing $65 million in financing, the largest EBRD loan to Ukraine’s telecommunications, media and technology sector. Datagroup is 96% owned by a fund managed by Horizon Capital, with its CEO holding remaining shares.
“This is a historic moment for both companies as well as for the Ukrainian telecom sector,” said Mikhail Shelemba, Datagroup’s Chief Executive Officer. “The merger between Datagroup and Volia has created a national fixed line leader across key customer segments – B2C, B2B, and wholesale. The combined network will cover over 4 million Ukrainian households in the country’s top 50 cities. With over 30,000 kilometers of fiber infrastructure, it will be one of the largest networks in the country. Thanks to the integration of subscriber bases, optimization of costs and business processes, as well as large-scale modernization of the network, we expect the growth of the combined company to double over the next five years. In addition to solidifying our leading positions in all customer segments, the new organization will focus on offering new complimentary services to its clients: cloud and cybersecurity for B2B customers, and IoT and OTT solutions for retail customers. Recently, Datagroup launched a full-scale modernization project of its network, in partnership with Cisco, that will increase its throughput capacity by more than 10 times, with the potential to scale up to 20 times. In one year, our network will be one of the most modern, flexible, and scalable networks in the country. These initiatives, coupled with significant operational synergies and financial backing from EBRD and Horizon Capital, truly position us as a national leader, paving the way for further consolidation of a very fragmented fixed telecom market with over 6,000 registered internet service providers.”
Shelemba added further, “We will also continue to advance and provide world-class entertainment and content on streaming platforms to all of our retail customers. OTT platform Volia means over 180 channels, including its own package of five Cine+ movie channels, showing the highest-rated movies. We are proud of our partnerships and the content deals we have in place with the biggest international and Ukrainian studios, including Disney, Universal, Film.ua, and Paramount. We will continue to expand our video library which currently holds over 13 thousand titles - movies, series and shows on our streaming platform – that are available on-line on the most popular devices for content usage: Smart TVs, mobile phones, computers and media boxes”.
Pierre Danon, Chairman of the Board, Datagroup – Volia Group, added: “I am thrilled to continue to be part of this exciting journey to combine two great companies, Datagroup and Volia, into a single player on a national scale. The Group will employ over 4,000 people serving more than 1 million customers. I have full confidence that with the collective energy, drive and ambition of both teams, we will create an even more attractive value proposition for our customers and very strong returns for shareholders."
Lenna Koszarny, Founding Partner and CEO of Horizon Capital, commented: “At Horizon Capital, we are proud of our focus on value-creation at Datagroup over many years culminating in this game-changing acquisition that truly results in the emergence of a Ukrainian fixed telecom market champion. This acquisition, and the significant capital investments made by Datagroup, come at a time when digitalization is a top priority for Ukraine. With the merger of Datagroup and Volia, the combined Group will play an even greater role in bringing new digital services to over 40 million Ukrainians. We truly believe that Ukraine offers attractive long-term investment opportunities and hope that the Datagroup-Volia merger will pave the way for further investments into the country’s infrastructure”.
CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang served as lead legal counsel to Datagroup and Horizon Capital. Dragon Capital served as financial advisor to Datagroup. Sayenko Kharenko served as lead legal counsel to Volia and its shareholders. Rothschild & Co. served as financial advisor to Volia. Sayenko Kharenko and Asters acted as joint legal advisers with regards to customary regulatory approvals.