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BC Partners said Thursday it has agreed to buy Swedish cable TV operator Com Hem from private equity owners The Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners.
Financial details of the transaction weren't disclosed, but people familiar with the situation told Dow Jones Newswires earlier that the deal was worth $2.6 billion.
Carlyle and Providence bought the Stockholm-based cable operator in January 2006 for around $1.2 billion. In June that year, the duo merged the company with UPC Sweden, which they bought from John Malone's Liberty Global Inc. (LBTYA) for $427 billion.
Under their ownership, Com Hem has spent nearly 4 billion Swedish kronor ($617 million) 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. Last year, Com Hem invested SEK680 million to develop infrastructure and services, and by the end of the year had 840,600 digital TV, broadband and telephone subscribers.
Com Hem had earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of SEK1.85 billion in 2010, an increase of 13% on the previous year, boosted by a fourth-quarter rise of 32% on year.
BC Partners plans to continue the company's growth trajectory.
"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 2 million households," said Nikos Stathopoulos, Managing Partner of BC Partners.
"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," he added.
Deutsche Bank AG (DB) and Morgan Stanley (MS) ran the auction process for Carlyle and Providence. UBS AG (UBS) and Goldman Sachs (GS) advised BC Partners and Goldman Sachs, Nordea (NDA.SK), UBS, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) and Morgan Stanley.
-By Marietta Cauchi, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 207 842 9241; firstname.lastname@example.org