Bird & Bird wins advisory role on first privatisation in Serbia

Bird & Bird has won a role advising on the Republic of Serbia’s privatisation of national mobile network MobTel, the republic’s first-ever privatisation.

Bird & Bird is acting for the French consortium advising the Serbian government on the transaction. The privatisation is valued at e800m (£545m) and will create a new telecoms company called Mobi63.

Bank Rothschild & Cie is leading the consortium advising on the privatisation, which includes Horus Télécom & Utilities and Citadel Financial Advisory. Local law firm Cabinet Drazic Beatovic & Partneri is advising on local law matters.

The managing partner of Bird & Bird’s Paris office Frédérique Dupuis-Toubol will advise on regulatory aspects and heads the legal team, which includes corporate specialist Marc Baffreau and public law partner Christophe Barthélemy.

Mobi63 will succeed MobTel as Serbia’s mobile telecoms provider. At the end of March the Serbian government passed amendments to its telecommunications law to permit the privatisation. Mobi63 will be 70 per cent owned by Serbian postal company PTT Srbija and 30 per cent by an Austrian consortium, which will pay $32m (£17.6m).

Bird & Bird has worked on other Eastern European telecoms privatisations in the past. In 2004 the firm advised the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the e118m (£87m) loan financing for the consortium purchase of a 65 per cent stake in Bulgarian Telecommunications Company.