BC fund kicks off with €1.9bn deal

BC Partners has made its first acquisition with capital from its latest mega-fund, winning the hotly-contested auction for Swedish cable company Com Hem with a bid of SKr17bn (€1.9bn; $2.7bn).

London-headquartered BC Partners, which has just held a second close on its ninth fund at almost €6 billion, today agreed the acquisition of Com Hem with sellers the Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners.

At $2.7 billion, the deal ranks as the third biggest private equity deal in Europe this year after the buyouts of Securitas ($3.4 billion) and Spie ($3 billion), according to data provider Dealogic.

It is the third time a private equity firm has purchased the company, which was originally owned by Nordic firm EQT Partners before its sale to Carlyle and Providence.

BC, Carlyle and Providence confirmed the deal in a statement but declined to comment any financial terms.

BC has funded its successful bid for the company using capital from its latest fund, BC European Capital IX, which recently held a second close just shy of €6 billion, according to a source close to the firm.

Debt financing for the deal was provided by a large consortium of banks, comprising Goldman Sachs, Nordea, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley, a source close to the process said.

UBS and Goldman Sachs advised BC on its bid, with Dickson Minto and Lindahl providing legal advice.

Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley ran the auction process for Carlyle and Providence. Mannheimer Swartling and Latham & Watkins provided legal advice to the vendors.

BC fought off stiff competition from a host of rivals, including Cinven – the only other private equity firm to make the final round of bidding – Nordic Capital, and CVC Capital Partners. The latter pair withdrew from the bidding earlier in the process.

Carlyle and Providence acquired Com Hem in early 2006 for about €1 billion, according to press reports at the time, purchasing the company in a secondary buyout from Stockholm-headquartered buyout firm EQT Partners, which had earlier paid SKr 2.2 billion for the company in 2003.

Providence and Carlyle merged Com Hem with UPC Sweden, which they acquired from Liberty Global a few months later.