Sweden's EQT sells Kabel BW to US firm for 3.16 bn euros

21st March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Sweden's EQT fund announced Monday it was selling Kabel BW, Germany's number three cable operator, to US-based Liberty Global for 3.16 billion euros ($4.49 billion).

"EQT's Funds IV and V today announced that they have agreed to sell Kabel BW, Germany's third largest cable network provider, to US media company Liberty Global Inc. for a total enterprise value of 3,160 million euros," EQT said in a statement.

Kabel BW has some 2.3 million clients in Germany's southwest.

EQT -- a private equity fund controlled by Sweden's powerful Wallenberg family -- bought the company in 2006 from private equity group Blackstone for 1.3 billion euros.

During its Swedish ownership, Kabel BW's sales went up 120 percent to 563 million euros, EQT said Monday.

In 2010, the company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved by 21 percent to 316 million euros.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and Hellman & Friedman were also bidding for KBW but Liberty Global appeared to have the upper hand.

If its sale had failed, the group was considering going public on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Liberty Global Inc. operates broadband services serving 17.7 million clients in 14 countries, including Germany's Unitymedia, Switzerland's Cablecom and Belgium's Telenet, as well as VTR in Chile and AUSTAR in Australia.

"We are very glad that Kabel BW will in the future be part of Liberty Global which is one of the most innovative media groups worldwide and will offer a fantastic environment for further expansion," Gunnar Asp, the chairman of Kabel BW's advisory board, said in the EQT statement.

© 2011 AFP

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