United Group

United Group

United Group was formed in 2007 through the merger of SBB and Telemach from Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to data from the Serbian Business Registers Agency, SBB was founded in September 2000. The group’s founder and chairman of the advisory board is Dragan Šolak. In 2013, former U.S. ambassador to Serbia, Cameron Manter, was a senior advisor to the Board of Directors of the SBB-Telemach Group. The following year, KKR, a leading global investment fund based in New York with a capital of 131.1 billion dollars, became the majority owner of United Group, investing in the group together with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

After this investment, the group continued to expand, acquiring Grand Production (a Serbian turbo-folk music production company), Telemach Montenegro (telecommunications operator) in 2014, Tusmobil (the third-largest mobile operator in Slovenia) in 2015, five smaller cable operators in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a majority share of the cable television operator BHB Cable TV in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2015. N1, the group’s CNN-affiliated cable television network, began broadcasting in Serbia in October 2014.

In March 2019, KKR sold a majority stake in United Group to BC Partners, a leading international investment company. While it was announced that the previous majority owner, KKR, as well as the management team of United Group would retain a sizable minority share, the exact percentage of the shares retained by KKR, the United Group management team, and Dragan Šolak have not been disclosed. Data submitted to the Serbian Regulatory Body for Electronic Media indicates that the group has a complex ownership structure, involving a number of Dutch companies: the direct owner is Adria Midco, which is owned by Adria Topco, which in turn is owned by Summer BidCo. The owner of Summer BidCo is Summer MidCo, which is owned by Summer Parent from Luxembourg.

Three companies have a share in this company: Summer Invest from Luxembourg (55.37%), Gerrard Enterprises from the Isle of Man (28.20%), and Gerrard MIP from the Cayman Islands (8.05%). Dragan Šolak holds a 99% share in the company from the Isle of Man and a significant share in the company from the Cayman Islands. The Summer Invest BC European Capital X LP Fund from the British island of Guernsey is the majority owner, with a 78.65% share in the company. No single individual owns 10% or more of the BC European Capital X Fund.

Today, United Group operates numerous companies and branches across several countries, including Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, and the Netherlands. The group's portfolio encompasses television stations, film and TV production, internet services, fixed and mobile telephony, cable operators, DTH and OTT platforms, software center United.cloud, marketing firms, and online trading companies.

According to the Serbian Agency for Business Registers, Dragan Šolak has a 35 percent stake in many companies that operate within the United Group, making him a co-owner of dozens of Serbian companies, including SBB, Direct media, D Express, United Cloud, Grand Production, Shoppster, Cas Media, United Media Production, United Group RS, Adria News, Mainstream, Media Point, Direct Medija Komunikacije, United Media Digital, Dan Graf, Mainstream Public Cloud Services, City Media, Dansav Plaza, Holdco Adria, Netlogic, Techhill Plaza, United Group Network Infrastructure, Big Print, Fortuna E-Sports, Fusion Communications, Ali Invest, Brainz, Panelcatv, Flama Fructis, Grand Slam Group, Hiša Plus, TV Kanal Ultra Beograd (in liquidation), N1 Television, and Nova S Television.

SBB was the most successful of these companies in 2022, with around 252 million euros in turnover and almost 35 million euros in profit. In second place was Direct Media, with 1.9 million euros in profit.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, United Group owns a Television station N1 through Adria News d.o.o., and Nova BH Television station, through Direct Media Komunikacije and Telemach, telecommunications operator.

Key facts

Mother Company

BC Partners

Business Form

Private

Legal Form

Corporations and Limited Liability Company

Business Sectors

Telecommunications; Publication of Newspapers; Radio and Television Broadcasting; Online store; Marketing; Music production

Ownership

Individual Owner

Media Outlets
Other Media Outlets

Other Print Outlets

Danas, Serbia

Other TV Outlets

Nova TV, Croatia

Other Online Outlets

Dnevnik.hr

Facts

Media Business

Broadcaster of TV in Croatia

Nova (Nova TV)

Broadcaster of TV in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Nova (Nova BH)

TV channel broadcaster in Montenegro

Nova M (Nova M)

TV channel broadcaster in Bulgaria

Nova (Nova Broadcasting Group)

Broadcaster of TV channels in Bosnia and Herzegovina

N1 BiH (Adria News BH Production)

Broadcaster of cable and satellite television

Sport Klub 1-10 (United Media Production, Serbia)

Publishing and printing

Dan Graf (Serbia)

Business

Telecommunications and distribution

Telemach (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Telecommunications and distribution

SBB (Serbia)

Computer programming

United Cloud (Serbia)

Marketing

Direct media (Serbia)

Online store

Shoppster (Serbia)

Commercial postal activities

D Express (Serbia)

Consulting activities

United Group RS (Serbia)

Cable telecommunications

Mainstream (Serbia)

Buying and selling real estate

Dansav Plaza (Serbia)

Print

Big Print (Serbia)

E-sports company

Fortuna E-Sports (Serbia)

Real estate rental

Ali Invest (Serbia)

Production of juices

Flama Fructis (Serbia)Telecommunications and distribution

http://Telemachus (Slovenia)

General Information

Founding Year

2007

Affiliated Interests Founder

Dragan Šolak

a Serbian businessman and media mogul who co-owns dozens of companies across Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, and the Netherlands.
Šolak is a founding member of the United Group Advisory Board, within which SBB, the leading cable provider in Serbia, operates. His career began in 1990 when he founded the production company VANS. The first film released by VANS was Goran Paskaljević's Tango Argentino, which was followed by other films such as Byzantine Blue and Bure Baruta. In 1996, VANS expanded into a distribution company.
In the early 2000s, Šolak founded SBB, and seven years later, he merged SBB with Telemach from Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to establish United Group. The group gained public attention in 2014 after founding the N1 Television, one of the country’s few media networks not under the financial or political influence of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party. In an interview with the Guardian, Šolak claimed to have no interest in politics, but to have become a political figure solely because he didn’t allow the authorities to dictate the operations of his television network.
According to the Serbian Agency for Business Registers, Dragan Šolak has a 35 percent stake in many companies that operate within the United Group, making him a co-owner of dozens of Serbian companies, including SBB, Direct media, D Express, United Cloud, Grand Production, Shoppster, Cas Media, United Media Production, United Group RS, Adria News, Mainstream, Media Point, Direct Medija Komunikacije, United Media Digital, Dan Graf, Mainstream Public Cloud Services, City Media, Dansav Plaza, Holdco Adria, Netlogic, Techhill Plaza, United Group Network Infrastructure, Big Print, Fortuna E-Sports, Fusion Communications, Ali Invest, Brainz, Panelcatv, Flama Fructis, Grand Slam Group, Hiša Plus, TV Kanal Ultra Beograd (in liquidation), N1 Television, and Nova S Television.
SBB was the most successful of these companies in 2022, with around 252 million euros in turnover and almost 35 million euros in profit. In second place was Direct Media, with 1.9 million euros in profit.
In 2022, Šolak became a lead investor in Sport Republic, a London-based investment firm in the sports and entertainment industry. Under his investment, Sport Republic acquired UK Premier League football club Southampton FC in January 2022, followed by the purchase of Turkey's Goztepe in August 2022.
The Guardian, which Šolak gave a rare interview after purchasing Southampton, reported that his fortune is estimated at 1.4 billion pounds. Šolak is a passionate golfer and owns a golf course in Slovenia. Additionally, the United Group website states that he is involved in charity work and invests in education, environmental protection, art, and culture.

Employees

13.994

Contact

Address: Spicalaan 41

2132 JG Hoofddorp

The Netherlands

E-mail: office@united.group

Tax/ ID Number

Missing Data

Financial Information

Revenue (Financial Data/ Optional)

2.69 mln USD / 4.65 mln BAM

Operating Profit (in Mill. $)

214.062 USD / 369.258 BAM

Advertising (in % of total funding)

Missing data

Management

Executive Board

Dragan Šolak

founder and member of the Advisory Board

Further Information

Data Publicly Available

ownership data is easily available from other sources, e. g. public registries etc.

2 ♥

Meta Data

The state Financial Intelligence Agency had basic financial data for 2021 which refer entirely to the company Adria News BH Production. Amounts were converted into USD using the Central Bank's exchange rate for December 31, 2021.

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