EQT agrees Com Hem deal

EQT Northern Europe has signed an agreement with TeliaSonera to acquire Sweden’s leading cable TV operator for E235m.

Following the sale of its Swedish packaging materials business Stenqvist to German private equity firm Triton last week, Nordic private equity house EQT Partners has announced a E235m (SKr2.15bn) deal to acquire Com Hem, the Swedish cable TV operator owned by TeliaSonera.

 

Com Hem is the largest cable TV operator in Sweden and provides cable TV to 1.4m households with its basic tier TV offering. The company also offers approximately 70 pay TV and pay-per-view channels in a network which is 90 per cent upgraded to enable digital TV transmission. Com Hem also provides broadband internet access to 500,000 households.

 

“Com Hem is the market leader in an attractive sector. Through a leading technology and a strong product offering in both cable TV and broadband internet, the company has an excellent opportunity to significantly grow revenues,” said Thomas von Koch, partner at EQT Partners. “Our intention is to continue the development of the cable TV offering, invest and grow the broadband internet segment as well as offer new products and services.”

 

EQT beat off competition from a number of financial buyers, including Apax and Advent International, in an auction that commenced in Q4 2002. Given Com Hem’s modest turnover of E117m in 2002, the E235m looks full, although von Koch believes the company is set for improved performance. “We are acquiring a business that has already begun the turnaround process. The company is also in a strong market position, with 55 per cent of the local market.”

 

EQT has previously invested in the sector, following its ownership of StjärnTV, a leading Swedish cable TV operator that was divested from EQT Scandinavia I to UPC in 1999.