Xavier Niel sets eyes on Ukraine with Datagroup-Volia acquisition 


The deal is the first major investment by a new and outside entrant since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022

French billionaire and owner of European telco group iliad, Xavier Niel, has announced today that he will acquire Datagroup-Volia, Ukraine’s leading fixed telecom and pay TV provider, through his investment firm NJJ.  

According to NJJ’s press release, the acquisition, which is for an undisclosed sum, has already received regulatory approval. 

Datagroup-Volia is 96.13% owned by a fund managed by US private equity firm Horizon Capita and 3.87% by Datagroup-Volia CEO Mykhaylo Shelemba. 

Once acquired, NJJ will merge Datagroup-Volia with Lifecell, the country’s third-largest and fastest-growing mobile operator, pending the regulatory green-light on the latter’s acquisition. 

The newly combined company will then be led by Shelemba and will provide mobile connectivity to 10 million Ukrainians.  

Its fixed network will cover four million premises across the country. 

Back in January, NJJ confirmed the acquisition of Turkcell’s various Ukrainian units (including Lifecell), for $500 million. This deal is still subject to regulatory checks, including the go-ahead from the Ukrainian competition authority. 

In a statement this week, Xavier Niel described the move as “a significant step towards the creation of a national Ukrainian telecom champion.” 

“Ukraine is home to an impressive tech sector with innovation in artificial intelligence, a high degree of digitalisation and technological affinity. We are confident that our landmark transaction will serve as a signal to others that the time to invest in Ukraine is now, to support the rebuilding of the country and realize its potential,” he continued.

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