EBRD and IFC Advance Appraisal to Provide $435m in Financing to Support Landmark Datagroup-Volia-Lifecell Telecom Deal in Ukraine

June 14, 2024

Berlin, Germany – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) are advancing their joint appraisal to support a landmark deal for Ukraine, led by Xavier Niel’s NJJ Holding (NJJ), Horizon Capital and Datagroup-Volia (DGV). The deal entails the creation of a leading, integrated telecom operator through the merger of Datagroup-Volia, a national fixed telco leader, and Lifecell, the country’s fastest-growing mobile operator. The potential joint financing of up to US$435 million would be used to support the Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) and boost investments in network, licenses, and equipment to expand the platform’s fixed and mobile infrastructure in Ukraine, accelerating future growth and helping to bridge the country’s digital divide.

This landmark transaction contributing to Ukraine’s resilience, digitalization and growth would have a strong demonstration effect. The deal would catalyze attracting a global Western strategic operator to a platform that is operating critical infrastructure in Ukraine, while unlocking the largest foreign direct investment in Ukraine since the beginning of the full-fledged invasion.

DGV is a leading fixed telecom provider, uniquely positioned for a strategic partnership with a mobile operator. It is the #1 player in Pay-TV, corporate and wholesale fixed telecom segments in Ukraine and the #2 player in high-speed retail broadband. Lifecell is the #3 mobile operator in Ukraine and the #1 for inbound MNP migration. The combined group provides mobile connectivity to nearly 10 million users, while its fixed network covers close to four million homes across the country.

Earlier this year, French entrepreneur Xavier Niel, founder of Iliad, a leading European Telco Group and NJJ holding, obtained regulatory approval to acquire DGV. DGV is currently around 96 per cent owned by Horizon Capital, a private equity firm led by Lenna Koszarny, and around 4 per cent by Mykhaylo Shelemba, the company’s CEO. Post-closing, Horizon Capital and Mykhaylo Shelemba will retain a minority position in the combined entity and be the local partner of NJJ.

Lenna Koszarny, Founding Partner and CEO of Horizon Capital said: “We are immensely grateful to the EBRD and the IFC, Horizon Capital’s largest investors in multiple funds, for their unwavering support and commitment to Ukraine. The potential debt financing of up to $435 million for this landmark deal is essential to combine these two stellar Ukraine-based telecom players into a platform for expansion, growth and investment for the benefit of Ukrainian consumers. We look forward to deepening our partnership with EBRD and IFC through this transaction and together, driving transformative growth in the telecom sector.”

Mykhaylo Shelemba, CEO of Datagroup-Volia, added: “I am honored to be part of this landmark transaction which will launch a new era in Ukraine’s telecom sector. Our collaboration with EBRD began in June 2021 with the provision of $65 million in financing to Datagroup to acquire Volia, thus initiating the first step of this exciting journey. We are delighted to expand on this cooperation with EBRD, and thrilled to attract IFC to this historic deal which comes at a pivotal moment for Ukraine. Together, we are poised to achieve transformative growth in the telecom sector, fueling the launch of a significant investment program in Ukraine, with investments in network, licenses, equipment and expansion of fixed and mobile infrastructure to provide enhanced connectivity to millions of users across the country.”


About Datagroup – Volia

Datagroup and Volia is the national fixed line leader across key customer segments – B2C, B2B, and wholesale. The Company’s network covers over 4 million Ukrainian households in more than 100 cities,  with over 35,000 kilometers of fiber infrastructure making it one of the largest networks in the country. The Company also offers a broad portfolio of value-add services to its clients, including cloud and cybersecurity for B2B customers, and IoT and OTT solutions for retail customers. With more than 2,000 institutional clients, the group is also a key partner of the public sector, collaborating with state bodies and agencies in the fields of finance, defense, and communications.

About Horizon Capital

Horizon Capital is the leading private equity firm in Emerging Europe with $1.6 billion in assets under management, from investors with a capital base of over $700 billion, raising over $800 million in growth capital in six years, including its latest fund, $350 million Horizon Capital Growth Fund IV, L.P. The firm’s investment strategy focuses on backing visionary entrepreneurs leading fast-growing, primarily tech and export-oriented businesses in Ukraine and Moldova. Horizon Capital-managed funds have invested in over 172 companies employing more than 80,000 people. Horizon Capital’s investment in Datagroup-Volia is held by Horizon Capital Growth Fund II, L.P.

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