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Swedish cable operator Com Hem has hired Deutsche Bank AG (DB) and Morgan Stanley (MS) to run an auction process, a person familiar with the situation told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.
Com Hem is owned by private equity firms Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners, which bought the Stockholm-based cable operator in January 2006 for around $1.2 billion. In June that year, the buyout duo merged the company with UPC Sweden which they bought from John Malone's Liberty Global Inc. (LBTYA) for $427 billion.
Com Hem had earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortization of 1.85 billion Swedish kronor ($294.4 million) in 2010, an increase of 13% on the previous year and boosted by a fourth quarter rise of 32% compared with the same period in 2009.
Last year, Com Hem invested SEK680 million to develop infrastructure and services and by year's end had 840,600 digital TV, broadband and telephone subscribers.
It is unclear exactly what value the owners put on the business, but earlier this year Swedish private equity company EQT announced the sale of German cable operator Kabel Baden-Wuerttemberg GmbH & Co. KG (KD8.XE) to Liberty Global for EUR3.16 billion, representing an Ebitda multiple of 8.1 on forecast 2011 earnings. A similar multiple on a trailing basis would value Com Hem at around SEK15 billion ($2.39 billion).
Non-disclosure agreements have been sent out to several interested private equity firms. Likely bidders include Blackstone Group (BX), Nordic Capital, Hellman & Friedman and BC Partners.
-By Marietta Cauchi, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 207 842 9241; email@example.com