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BC Partners to acquire Com Hem

Private-equity group BC Partners is to acquire Swedish cable operator Com Hem from existing owners Providence Equity Partners and Carlyle Group. Financial terms of the deal have not been released.

Carlyle and Providence acquired Com Hem from Swedish investment group EQT in 2006 and later that year also bought UPC Sweden, which was integrated into the larger operator. Carlyle and Providence have invested about SEK4 billion (€440 million) in Com Hem since acquiring the company.

The deal is expected to be completed in September, subject to EU competition clearance. Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisor for the sellers. UBS and Goldman Sachs acted as financial advisor to BC Partners, which is funded by Goldman Sachs, Nordea, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.

“BC Partners has an international expertise in telecommunications and knows our business very well. I am confident that with BC Partners new owners will further develop our already strong position in the Swedish market,” said Com Hem’s CEO Tomas Franzén.

Nikos Stathopoulos, managing partner of BC Partners, said, “We are pleased to support a strong management team in Sweden’s leading cable television company that delivers communications and entertainment services to nearly two million households. Com Hem’s non-cyclical growth profile and strong platform and infrastructure will ensure continued growth, particularly for investments in digital television and high speed broadband.”

Com Hem chief technology officer Martin Kull said in a letter to suppliers and partners that BC Partners “wants to continue to focus on and invest in our operation to capitalize on the considerable potential represented by the company”.

BC Partners will acquire the holding company for Com Hem and iTUX, which manages networks for communities and housing associations in partnership with Com Hem and other service providers.  Com Hem serves about 1.76 million, or 40%, Swedish homes with TV, broadband and telephony.