ECONOMY

Court ruling favors Advent bid for BTC

SOFIA (Reuters) – A top Bulgarian court late on Tuesday overruled plans to scrap the landmark sale of state telecom operator BTC to US private equity fund Advent, dealing a blow to government moves to sell instead to a Turkish consortium. The Supreme Administrative Court’s extended panel, whose decisions cannot be appealed, annulled the privatization agency’s decision to scrap the sale of a 65 percent stake in BTC to Advent for 210 million euros ($241 million). The ruling raises Advent’s chances for completing the troubled sale, first launched in early 2002, but also throws into question a deal sketched out with the other bidder, a Turkish group led by leading industrial conglomerate Koc Holding. After rejecting Advent, the privatization agency struck a tentative agreement to sell BTC to the Turkish group, including Turk Telekom, which raised its original offer of 185 million euros to 215 million euros. The privatization agency declined comment but Advent hailed the court’s ruling, saying it proved the legitimacy of the preliminary deal sealed in March.