BC Partners pips rivals for cable deal

BC Partners has acquired Deutsche Bank’s Telecolumbus cable TV business, trumping rival offers from Apollo and Apax, paying E510m for the business.

Deutsche Bank and BC Partners announced today that they have reached agreement over the acquisition of TeleColumbus Group by funds advised by BC Partners for a total consideration of E510m.


BC Partners was one of three private equity groups, including a consortium of Apax Partners, Providence Equity and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, and US firm Apollo, which submitted offers for the business. At the time of the bidding process, the cable group was valued at between E450m to E500m.


BC Partners will acquire the group in association with its management team. HypoVereinsbank, ABN AMRO and Royal Bank of Scotland will provide the debt facilities. The transaction is subject to approval by the German cartel office.


TeleColumbus Group is among the leading cable providers in Germany with 2.3m cable customers and revenues of circa E235m in 2002. “We like the stable and defensive nature of the business model of TeleColumbus, as well as its leading competitive position,” said Raymond Svider, senior partner at BC Partners who led the transaction team.


Deutsche Bank paid $790m in cash and assumed debt for Telecolumbus in 1999, buying the business from German utilities RWE and E.ON’s predecessor Veba. The business owns the part of the network that directly connects to customers' homes.


Deutsche Bank has raised over $8bn from disposals in the past twelve months. Most recently the bank sold a portfolio of late-stage private equity assets worth E1.5bn.


The German cable TV market has been a busy sector for private equity firms in 2003. In addition to the Apax consortium's acquisition of Deutsche Telekom's cable assets in January, Permira announced in February that it had finalised plans to buy German pay-TV channel Premiere for around E220m.