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EQT buys triple play cable company

The Nordic buyout firm has reportedly paid €1.3 billion to acquire German television, broadband and telephony provider Kabel BW from Blackstone and Caisse de Depot et Placement de Quebec.

Stockholm-headquartered private equity firm EQT has signed an agreement with The Blackstone Group and Caisse de Depot et Placement de Quebec (CDPQ) to acquire German television, broadband internet and telephony provider Kabel Baden-Württemberg (Kabel BW).

No price was disclosed, but the Wall Street Journal has reported that the transaction value was €1.3 billion ($1.6 billion).

EQT was not immediately available for comment. Blackstone declined to comment on the transaction.

Marcus Brennecke, managing partner of EQT Equity in Germany, said in a statement: “We are committed to continue supporting Kabel BW’s strategy and invest in growth, new technology and a strengthened market leadership.”

Kabel BW provides what is known as “triple play services”, comprising digital cable television, broadband and telephony services on one single platform. The business currently has 2.3 million subscribers to over 80 analogue and 400 digital channels, as well as high-speed internet access. In the financial year ended December 2005, Kabel BW reported revenues of €246 million.

Kabel BW will not be EQT’s first foray into the European cable and telephony sector. In December 2005, the firm sold its investment in Swedish triple play provider Com Hem to The Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners for approximately €1 billion. StjärnTV, a Swedish cable TV operator, was sold to UPC in 1999.

The transaction comes just days after Blackstone acquired a 4.5 percent stake in Deutsche Telekom from German bank KfW for €2.68 billion. According to a source close to the deal, the Kabel BW deal was in progress long before the Deutsche Telecom acquisition and the two transactions are not related.