NJJ prepares Datagroup-Volia merger with lifecell to form DVL

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NJJ prepares Datagroup-Volia merger with lifecell to form DVL

In March 2024, NJJ Holding, the investment company of Xavier Niel, founder of the European telecommunications group iliad, received regulatory approval for the acquisition of Datagroup-Volia.

96.13% of Datagroup-Volia shares are owned by a fund managed by Horizon Capital, a US private investment company led by Elena Kosharna, and the remaining 3.87% is owned by Datagroup-Volia CEO Mykhailo Shelemba.

Following the closing of the transaction, the NJJ-led consortium intends to merge Datagroup-Volia with mobile operator lifecell. The merger is subject to regulatory approval and will result in 100% ownership of these assets registered in Ukraine.

Ксав’є Ніель, засновник NJJ Holding

Future plans

The Group plans to launch a significant investment program in Ukraine following the closing of the transaction, with investments in network, licenses, equipment and expansion of fixed and mobile infrastructure in the country.

After the deal closes, the Horizon Capital-managed fund, together with Mykhailo Shelemba, will invest in the platform to retain a minority stake and become a local partner of Xavier Niels and NJJ in Ukraine.

Mykhailo Shelemba, the current CEO of Datagroup, will lead the combined Datagroup-Volia-Lifecell platform. Pierre Danon, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Datagroup-Volia, will also continue to serve as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the combined entity.

“This historic deal is the first significant investment by a new market participant since the start of the full-scale invasion, as well as a significant investment in Ukraine’s domestic infrastructure,” the companies said.

Lifecell для MNP-абонентів дає два номери на одній SIM

DVL is the third player

The merged company, with the likely name of DVL that has surfaced in some reports, will provide mobile services to more than 10 million Ukrainians, and its fixed network will cover more than 4 million households across the country.

The merger of Datagroup-Volia and Lifecell will also allow consumers to benefit from a triple play offering of mobile, fixed line and pay TV, providing higher quality of service, better value and further integration with European standards.

“Ukraine is home to an impressive tech sector with innovations in artificial intelligence, a high level of digitalization and a technology focus. We are confident that our historic deal will send a signal to others that the time is right to invest in Ukraine to support the country’s recovery and realize its potential,” said Xavier Niel, founder of NJJ Holding.

He plans to promote global telecommunications activities, “from France to Poland, from Italy, Sweden to the Baltic States,” and develop telecommunications, technology, artificial intelligence, and other strategic areas.

Елена Кошарная

The sale has been planned for a long time

“Our vision of delivering a triple play package for customers, combining fixed, mobile and pay TV, started in 2018 after our first meetings with Volia and Lifecell and was inspired by Xavier Niels,” said Elena Kosharna, Founder and CEO of Horizon Capital.

According to her, Xavier is a renowned French innovator and visionary who invented Freebox, the world’s first triple play package that brought the Internet to many homes and increased the overall availability of mobile communications, more than 20 years ago.

“In June 2021, we completed the acquisition of Volia, and in December 2021, we had a historic meeting with Xavier Niel and his team in Paris. This meeting was the first step towards this significant transaction,” adds Kosharna.

генеральний директор DataGroup/Volia Михайло Шелемба
CEO of DataGroup/Volia Mykhailo Shelemba

Datagroup-Volia & Lifecell

“The merger of Datagroup-Volia and Lifecell will create a new champion in the Ukrainian telecommunications industry, combining two outstanding assets with great synergy potential. The expansion of the triple play offer will bring obvious and tangible benefits to consumers in terms of cost, convenience and quality of service,” said Mykhailo Shelemba, CEO of Datagroup-Volia.

In his opinion, the mutual integration of our customer bases, optimization of costs and business processes, as well as increased investment in the network will allow us to offer even more attractive and competitive packages to our subscribers, outperforming the individual offers of both separate companies.

It should be noted that lifecell has long offered discounted services with Datagroup-Volia, but they have not reached the level desired by the company. At the same time, two of its main competitors Kyivstar and Vodafone have long offered triple play services of mobile, home Internet and TV, so the entry of Devil (DVL) will create additional competition.

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