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The Hungarian ICT company will purchase the operator for an undisclosed sum from Czech investment group PPF, with the latter looking to monetise a number of its assets in recent months

2021 has been a busy year for Hungarian ICT firm 4iG, which has increasingly clear ambitions of becoming a major telecoms player throughout the Central and Eastern European regions.

Back in March the company announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire DIGI Group, Hungary’s leading telecommunications and media service group.

“The potential acquisition of the Hungarian DIGI Group represents a huge step forward for 4iG, with the acquisition we can gain a dominant position in a new strategic industry. We intend DIGI to play an important role in the creation of the national telecommunications platform, planned jointly with Antenna Hungária, with which we can open a new chapter in the domestic market,” said president and CEO of 4iG, Gellért Jászai, at the time.

The platform mentioned here refers to a joint venture (JV) with Antenna Hungária Zrt. and New Space Industries Zrt. first announced in October last year. The JV, named CarpathiaSat Hungarian Space Telecommunications Plc., will aim to launch the nation’s first geostationary satellite for telecommunications by 2024. 4iG is the majority owner of the JV. 

Furthering this ambition, at the start of June, 4iG acquired 75% of Hungaro DigiTel, a Hungarian satellite communications services provider. 

Later that month, the company made its first international purchase, buying the majority stake in Israeli satellite operator Spacecom. Spacecom currently operates four broadcast and broadband satellites in African, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. The European satellite, Amos-3, will cover Hungary.

But it seems that 4iG’s plans are not only to offer communications services in Hungary itself, but beyond into Central and Eastern Europe, including the Balkans.

Today, 4iG has signed a preliminary non-binding agreement with PPF Telecom Group to purchase 100% of Telenor Montenegro, the country’s third largest mobile operator. 

“The acquisition of Telenor Montenegro is in line with 4iG’s regional expansion strategy, and the company’s stable background and market position, as well as its strong revenue-generating capacity, can provide high added value for our group,’ said 4iG president and CEO Gellert Jaszai.

“We see significant growth potential in the Western Balkans region, and we expect the economic growth of the region to be significantly boosted by the enlargement of the European Union in the next five years. Therefore, in addition to the acquisition just announced, we would like to further increase our presence in the region. To this end, we are constantly exploring investment opportunities in the telecommunications and IT sectors.”

Assuming regulatory approval, the parties have agreed to complete the deal by the end of November this year.

In contrast to 4iG’s expansion, PPF Group appears to be focusing on its existing assets. Back in February this year, the Group announced that it was investigating the possibility of going public with its Czech fibre network, Cetin, which it spun off from O2 Czech Republic back in 2015. Such a move would could potentially raise $5 billion. 

In related news, just last month the company said that it had increased its stake in O2 Czech Republic to over 90% and would begin the process of forcibly buying out the remaining minority shareholders. The group then plans to delist O2 from the public market.

 

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