Xavier Neil group seeks to acquire and combine two leading Ukrainian telcos

NJJ Holding, which is owned by French telecoms entrepreneur Xavier Neil, wants to buy fixed line company Datagroup-Volia and mobile operator Lifecell, then combine them.

Scott Bicheno

April 8, 2024

2 Min Read

The announcement from NJJ claims Datagroup-Volia is Ukraine’s number one fixed telco, but Ukrtelecom might have something to say about that. NJJ announced its intention to buy Lifecell – Ukraine’s number three MNO, at the start of this year. It seems that was just the start of Neil’s cunning plan to dominate the Ukrainian telecoms market.

“I am pleased that we have achieved this major milestone with the regulatory approval for the acquisition of Datagroup-Volia, a significant step towards the creation of a national Ukrainian telecom champion, providing Ukrainians with safe, secure and reliable telecom services,” said Neil. “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.”

Considering the country is still at war with Russia, in which the prospects of Ukrainian victory seem to be diminishing, that’s a bold statement. But then this is a bold move with a high risk/reward profile. Neil seems confident he will receive regulatory approval for the subsequent merger and the resulting company should be in a very strong position. On the other hand, buying into a war-torn country comes with a lot of obvious risks.

"The merger of Datagroup-Volia and Lifecell will create a new champion in Ukraine's telecom industry, combining two stellar assets with vast synergy potential,” said Mykhaylo Shelemba, CEO of Datagroup-Volia. “Expansion of the triple-play offering is expected to result in clear, tangible benefits for consumers in cost, convenience, and quality of service.

“This opportunity is only made possible through the bravery of Ukraine's courageous defenders, protecting the country at this pivotal time, and the over 5,000 talented and dedicated management team and employees of Datagroup-Volia and Lifecell, who have demonstrated the utmost resilience and commitment to continuing to deliver high-quality services to Ukrainians every day, despite challenging circumstances.

“I thank Horizon Capital for their vision, trust and backing for the past eight years and look forward to embarking on this new, exciting chapter led by Xavier Niel and NJJ, undoubtedly one of the most visionary, experienced and trailblazing telecom investors globally. We are confident that this deal will start a new page in Ukraine's telecom market and inspire others considering investing in Ukraine."

About the Author(s)

Scott Bicheno

As the Editorial Director of Telecoms.com, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Telecoms.com Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Telecoms.com Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno

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