Apax Partners and Texas Pacific Group (TPG) have acquired a controlling stake in Greek mobile telecoms company TIM Hellas Telecommunications. The two firms, which will hold equal 40 percent shares in the company, bought the 80 percent stake from TIM International, the mobile phone arm of Telecom Italia.
The private equity consortium paid approximately €16.43 per share for the company, giving a total transaction value of €1.1 billion ($1.4 billion). The price represents a 17.6 percent premium on the company's average share price over the last six months.
Philippe Costeletos, a partner at TPG, described the deal as the 'first significant private equity investment in Greece', and noted that previous deals have been worth under €300 million and have not involved a company changing hands.
Athens-based Stet Hellas was founded in 1992 and has operated under the TIM brand name since 2004. It is listed on both NASDAQ and Euronext Amsterdam.
In 2004 the company had 2.3 million customers and sales of €840 million. However, it had a difficult year as increasing competition led to falling profits and chief executive Nikolaos Varsakis resigned for personal reasons.
Telecom Italia chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera announced that the company had received interest from private equity firms in February. The following month industry sources reported that exclusive negotiations had begun.
Giancarlo Alibertie, a partner at Apax, said in an interview with PEO that the consortium now intends to offer the remaining shareholders the same price, with the hope of acquiring the outstanding equity and delisting the company.
Apax lists telecommunications as one of its six sectors of interest. Its recent investments in the sector have included US LAN system company Go Networks, satellite company Intelsat and French overseas telecoms operator Outremer Telecom.
TPG is currently investing its $5.8 billion TPG Partners IV fund. Its other investments in the sector have included satellite company Eutelsat and broadband technology company Paradyne.