The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) allocates USD 100 million loan for Georgia’s one of the largest telecom operator, MagtiCom, to finance acquisition of fixed-line broadband internet network platform from country’s second-largest internet service provider Caucasus Online.
MagtiCom and Caucasus Online signed an agreement in late May according to which the former buys the latter’s assets including infrastructure, equipment and network necessary to provide internet, telephony and IPTV services to end customers. MagtiCom said that the transfer of assets will be finalized in August.
MagtiCom, a mobile phone operator, is a leader on Georgia’s pay-TV market with its direct-to-home satellite service, MagtiSat, and Caucasus Online is also the second biggest IPTV service provider.
The deal does not include all of the Caucasus Online’s assets – the company will remain in control of 1,200 kilometer undersea fiber-optic cable that runs across the Black Sea.
The EBRD said that its loan to MagtiCom will help the company to offer better and higher-speed internet services to its customers across the country, outside Tbilisi.
“Georgia is a growing economy where the rural areas need greater connectivity and this project is yet another example of the EBRD’s efforts to support economic inclusion in the country,” said Bruno Balvanera, EBRD Director for the Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus.
Since last year, along with MagtiCom, Caucasus Online, owned by offshore registered companies, was also negotiating on selling part of its assets with Georgia’s two other major telecom operators – Silknet, the largest internet and IPTV service provider, and Beeline, mobile phone operator where Russia’s VimpelCom holds controlling stakes. At one point Beeline appeared closer to striking deal, but the Caucasus Online announced in March, 2016 that it was intending to sign contract with MagtiCom.
MagtiCom is owned by two companies registered in U.S. state Delaware; among its main beneficial owners are Giorgi Jokhtaberidze, son-in-law of Georgia’s late former president Eduard Shevardnadze, and family of late tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili.