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Novator Partners LLP is an English private corporation, specialising in telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and financial services. In addition, Novator operates a Private Equity Fund and a Credit Opportunities Fund. The company is based in London and led by Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson from Iceland.
The owner or owners of Novator are hiding behind a web of companies which includes companies in places such as Cyprus, Cayman Islands, Delaware, Gibraltar, Tortola (British Virgin Islands), and Luxembourg.
Investigations published in Denmark suggest that the underlying companies are linked to Russian companies.
In a few years, Bjorgolfsson acquired substantial assets in Central and Southern Eastern Europe.
The communications sector acquisitions of the Icelandic businessmen included:
- In 2003 Novator acquired a 70% stake in Czech telecoms company České Radiokomunikace for £120m. It owns 39.23% of the shares in T-Mobile Czech Republic a.s. (one of the two largest mobile operators in the Czech Republic). Novator sold the stake three years later for £942m.
- Novator acquired the largest single stake in Finnish telecom company Elisa in 2005 for around £100m. The stake was sold in 2007 for £311m.
- Novator acquired a controlling stake in Finnish telecom Saunalahti.
- Novator acquired a 65% stake in Bulgarian Telecommunications Company for an undisclosed sum. In 2007 the stake was sold for £855m.
- Novator acquired a large stake in Polish telecom P4 Spółka z o.o..
- Novator acquired a large stake in Polish telecom Netia in 2006. Netia has the second-largest fixed-line network in Poland. Netia and Novator announced that they are going to build a 4th mobile network in Poland.
- Novator acquired a large stake in Forthnet, a Greek Internet service provider (ISP).
- Exista acquired 100% of Síminn (Iceland Telecom).
Financial sector acquisitions included:
- An 18.27% stake in the Economic Investment Bank (EIBank) in Bulgaria, which was previously 100% owned Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's domestic partner Tsvetelina Borislavova.
Other acquisitions included:
- In 2007 Novator bought out other shareholders in Actavis, an Icelandic pharmaceutical company.
Novator acquired a 10.4% stake in Finland's telecommunications company Elisa Oyj in 2005 through a share swap when Elisa bought the smaller operator Saunalahti, which had been mostly owned by Novator. Novator tried to revamp Elisa in December 2007, but was opposed by Finnish institutions such as Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company. On 13 October 2008, during the Icelandic financial crisis, it was announced that Novator had sold its entire stake in Elisa to Varma for 194 million euros (US$266 million), a price of €11.20/share.
- "Íslenskt félaganet og faldir eigendur". TÍUND FRÉTTABLAÐ RSK MARS 2009.
- "Россия желает спасать Исландию из-за давних офшорных связей чиновников и бизнесменов". The New Times. 2008-10-21.. Another copy: "Зачем Россия спасает Исландию". Rususa. 2008-10-21.. An automatic translation: "Discussion of the relationship between Iceland and Russia from the Russian newspaper.".
- "Who is Thor Bjorgolfsson, Iceland's lone billionaire?". Invest in Greece. 2006-01-20.
- "Icelandic billionaire's face the crunch". This Is Money. 2008-10-12.
- 25.01.2006 Information on acquisition of Netia’s shares
- Iceland's Novator Telecom, Netia to launch 4th mobile telecoms network in Poland
- Suoninen, Sakari; Virki, Tarmo (2008-10-13). "UPDATE 2-Novator sells Elisa stake for 194 mln euros". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-02-15.
- www.novator.co.uk - Novator's official website