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KKR acquires SBB/Telemach from Mid Europa Partners

Private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has agreed to acquire western Balkans cable operator SBB/Telemach from Mid Europa Partners.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, subject to local regulatory approval.

According to Mid Europa Partners, the transaction delivered a tripling of its investment in the operator and represents the largest private-equity exit in the former Yugoslavia. Mid Europa acquired Serbian pay TV operator SBB in 2007 and supported its organic and acquisition growth across the region to six countries. SBB has acquired 18 businesses that form United Group, with about 1.8 million revenue generating units across Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Macedonia.

The executive management team led by founder Dragan Šolak will remain in place and retain a substantial stake in SBB/Telemach Group

“This transaction validates our strong conviction that the region offers attractive investment opportunities and demonstrates Mid Europa’s ability to create value through our intimate knowledge of regional markets and our hands-on ownership approach,” said Robert Knorr, Senior Partner of Mid Europa who leads Mid Europa’s investments in south-eastern Europe.  “We have taken a national champion and transformed it into a pan-regional leader and best in class operator by global standards – a success story that was made possible through the combination of a strong business, operating in an attractive region, an exceptional management team, and the flawless execution of a complex buy and build and organic regional expansion strategy.”

Henrik Kraft, Member of KKR and head of KKR’s telecoms and technology team in Europe said: “We look forward to partnering with Dragan Šolak and his team. They have built a strong and sophisticated TV and communications platform and we are excited to support the company in its further growth.”