Apax, Carlyle bid for Auna unit

The two private equity firms have formed an alliance to bid around E400m auction for the TV and radio transmission unit of Spain's Grupo Auna.

Retevisión Audiovisual, the TV and radio signals business of Spanish communications company Grupo Auna, is the subject of an offer from an alliance of Apax Partners and Carlyle Group, valuing the business at around E400m.

 

Eight groups originally submitted offers for the business, originally valued at between E400m and E500m, although this list was whittled down to two contenders. Toll road operator Acesa confirmed earlier this year it had presented an offer for Retevisión Audiovisual via its infrastructure unit Tradia and its Acesa Telecoms division.

 

Carlyle and Apax are bidding alongside Red Eléctrica, which if successful, will have a 30 per cent stake in the business. Spanish telecom group Abengoa will have a ten per cent stake. Apax and Carlyle will take 36 and 24 per cent stakes respectively.

 

Reports in Spain suggest that offers currently on the table for the business range between E385m and E435m, and these include the assumption of E150m of debt. Retevisión Audiovisual has around 2,000 broadcasting towers in Spain and employs around 1100 people.

 

The Apax-Carlyle consortium is in a strong position in the bidding, according to sources in Spain, with a decision expected in the next few weeks. However, as with the CVC deal to acquire Iberdrola’s high voltage power lines last summer, the transaction could be rejected by the Spanish government which has previously raised objections about private equity involvement in Spanish infrastructure businesses.

 

Grupo Auna, controlled by Endesa, SCH and Union Fenosa, reported losses last year of E560m, down 23 per cent on the previous year when it reported a loss of E729m.

 

Apax Partners and Carlyle Group were both unavailable for comment.