July 21, 2011 – BC Partners, a leading international private equity firm, today announces that it has signed an agreement to acquire Com Hem, Sweden's leading TV, broadband and telephony company, from The Carlyle Group ("Carlyle") and Providence Equity Partners ("Providence"). Financial terms of the transaction are not disclosed.
Headquartered in Stockholm, Com Hem has grown to become Sweden's largest distributor of TV services, with approximately 40 per cent of Sweden's households connected to their network. In addition, the company has a significant and growing mix of digital TV, broadband and telephony services.
"We are delighted to be backing a strong management team at Sweden's leading cable TV operator and provider of communication and entertainment services to almost two million households. Com Hem's defensive growth profile and strong platform and infrastructure, should enable its continued growth, as we look to invest in expanding its digital TV and high speed broadband offering," says Nikos Stathopoulos, Managing Partner of BC Partners.
"BC Partners has an international telecom expertise and knows our business very well. I am convinced that we, with BC Partners as our new owner, will further develop our already strong position on the Swedish market," says Tomas Franzén, CEO at Com Hem.
Carlyle and Providence acquired Com Hem from EQT in 2006 and, in the same year, they acquired UPC, which was integrated with Com Hem. Under the ownership of Carlyle and Providence, the company has invested nearly SEK 4 billion on developing the company, upgrading the network to the highest international standard and developing new services such as TV-On-Demand and broadband up to 200 Mbit/s.
Benoit Colas, Managing Director of Carlyle Europe Partners, says: "Com Hem has proved to be an excellent investment for Carlyle and Providence, having delivered strong growth and robust performance even through challenging economic times. We congratulate Tomas Franzén and his team for their extraordinary achievements during our partnership."
Karim Tabet, a Managing Director at Providence, says, "We are proud of the role we and our partners have played in Com Hem's growth and development. Over the last five and a half years, the company has invested in its network, its customer service and launched a number of advanced services to put it at the forefront of cable operators worldwide."
Completion is expected in September 2011 subject to receiving EU regulatory approval.
Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley were the financial advisors in the transaction and Mannheimer Swartling and Latham & Watkins were the legal advisors to the vendors.
UBS and Goldman Sachs were financial advisors for BC Partners and Dickson Minto and Lindahl acted as legal advisors. BC Partners was financed by Goldman Sachs, Nordea, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.
Com Hem is one of Sweden's leading suppliers of television, broadband and telephony. Approximately 40 percent, 1.76 million, of Sweden's households are connected to Com Hem's network with access to the market's broadest range of television services. Com Hem offers attractively priced, high quality and complementary services for television, broadband and fixed telephony. The company was established in 1983 and has approximately 700 employees and head offices in Stockholm. www.comhem.se
BC Partners is a leading private equity firm with advised funds of €13bn ($19bn). Established in 1986, BC Partners has played an active role in developing the European buy-out market for over 20 years. BC Partners executives operate as an integrated team through offices in Europe and North America, acquiring and developing European or multinational businesses to create value in partnership with management. BC Partners has significant expertise in the cable sector, having invested in the leading German cable operator TeleColumbus and in a minority share in Ish, which were subsequently merged with iesy to form Unitymedia, Europe's third largest cable operator providing cable services to 4.5 million households. BCP Funds exited the business in 2009, selling Unitymedia to Liberty Global for an EV of €3.6bn. Since inception, BC Partners has invested in 78 acquisitions with a total enterprise value of €72 billion. www.bcpartners.com
The Carlyle Group is a global alternative asset manager with $107.6 billion of assets under management committed to 84 funds as of March 31, 2011. Carlyle invests across four segments – corporate private equity, real assets, global market strategies and fund-of-fund solutions – in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America focusing on aerospace & defense, consumer & retail, energy & power, financial services, healthcare, industrial, infrastructure, technology & business services, telecommunications & media and transportation. The Carlyle Group employs more than 1,000 people in 20 countries. www.carlyle.com
Providence Equity Partners is the leading global private equity firm specializing in equity investments in media, communications, information services and education companies around the world. The principals of Providence manage funds with $23 billion in equity commitments and have invested in more than 100 companies operating in over 20 countries since the firm's inception in 1989. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI (USA) and has offices in New York, London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and New Delhi. www.provequity.com