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Sandberg Capital sells stake in Slovakian alternative telecommunications operator

SWAN a s, an alternative telecommunications operator on the Slovak market, is changing its ownership structure. Slovak private equity fund, managed by Sandberg Capital, has agreed with DanubiaTel to divest its 50 per cent stake in their joint venture. The stake in SWAN will be taken over by SWAN’s sister company SWAN Mobile, a s, a member of the DanubiaTel group. 

SWAN a.s., an alternative telecommunications operator on the Slovak market, is changing its ownership structure. Slovak private equity fund, managed by Sandberg Capital, has agreed with DanubiaTel to divest its 50 per cent stake in their joint venture. The stake in SWAN will be taken over by SWAN’s sister company SWAN Mobile, a.s., a member of the DanubiaTel group. 

DanubiaTel also operates the mobile operator 4ka. Sandberg Capital decided to exit after four years. 

“We entered the joint venture as the owner of the then operator Benestra and DanubiaTel entered as a shareholder of SWAN. Our common goal was to consolidate the telecom market as well as to increase the value of the joint venture through synergies after the merger. The companies complemented each other perfectly with the portfolio of services they offered. We were able to exceed our investment goals that we had set for ourselves, so the exit was a natural culmination of our mission,” says Partner at Sandberg Capital, Michal Rybovič (photographed above). 

The merger of SWAN and Benestra in 2017 created the largest alternative telecommunications operator owned exclusively by the local capital. Following the merger, the company built on the strengths of the individual companies to gain an even stronger market position. SWAN is the second largest fixed telecommunication services provider in the business sector, with turnover of almost EUR100 million. 

The change in SWAN’s ownership structure and its subsequent merger with SWAN Mobile represents a major milestone for all parties involved. In the case of Sandberg Capital, this is the first ever exit from the fund’s portfolio. In the case of DanubiaTel, the merger of the operators represents the biggest event on the Slovak telecommunications market in recent years. The transaction is likely to lead to further consolidation in the sector.

“The planned merger of SWAN and SWAN Mobile into a single entity is scheduled for the turn of 2021 and 2022. It is also a natural step towards providing customers with convergent products, i.e. fixed and mobile services from a single supplier and on a single invoice,” says Juraj Ondriš, Chairman of the board of SWAN and SWAN Mobile. 

The financing partner of this unique transaction is a consortium of banks led by Tatra banka. The consortium of a syndicated loan in the total amount of EUR177 million also included Komerční banka, Slovenská sporiteľňa and Československá obchodná banka. “We greatly appreciate the trust of our long-standing client. This transaction is definitely one of the most significant milestones not only in the telecommunications market, due to its nature and complex structure,” says Zuzana Koštialová, Head of Large Corporate Clients Division at Tatra banka.      

“After the challenging process of closing this transaction, we continue to discuss the new brand or organisational structure. The advantage of the future merger is that both companies have historically had an identical majority shareholder and already have some common managers, teams and shared points of sale,” adds SWAN CEO, Roman Vavrík. 

The parties have agreed not to disclose the value of the transaction. 

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