EQT exits Com Hem

The Nordic buyout firm has sold the Swedish television, internet and telephone company Com Hem to the The Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners.

EQT Partners, the Stockholm-based buyout and mezzanine firm, has sold Swedish communications company Com Hem to The Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners.
Although the firm has not disclosed the value of the transaction, press reports suggest that it was worth around €1 billion ($1.17 billion) including debt. Carlyle and Providence are thought to be equal partners in the transaction.

Cable is becoming an excellent platform for distributing voice over IP services

Thomas von Koch, senior partner, EQT Partners

EQT’s third fund, the €2 billion EQT III, acquired the company from Nordic telecommunications company TeliaSonera group in June 2003. “It was clearly a sector that was undergoing change triggered by technology,” EQT senior partner Thomas von Koch told PEO. “We foresaw that IP telephony will become the true way of calling in years to come. Cable is becoming an excellent platform for distributing voice over IP services.”
Von Koch added that the firm has invested more than €100 million to facilitate the roll out of “triple play” services including TV, broadband internet and telephone services. The company currently serves more than 1.4 million customers, and has seen its EBITDA grow from SEK 59 million (€6.3 million; $7.3 million) in 2002 to projections of more than SEK 700 million this year.

Von Koch: investing in “triple play” services

In other news, the Financial Times reports that EQT is in exclusive talks to acquire MTU Friedrichshafen, the diesel engine making unit of Daimler-Chrysler, in a €1.7 billion ($2 billion) transaction.
The deal, which is reported to have beaten a last minute bid from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, is expected to be approved by Daimler’s advisory board on December 14th following a week of due diligence.

The telecoms sector has provided rich pickings for private equity firms lately. Last week a consortium led by Apax Partners and KKR agreed to buy Danish telecoms company TDC for €10 billion in the largest buyout yet seen in the Nordic region.
EQT confirmed that talks were taking place, but would not disclose their status.