Largest Finnish deal to date for 3i

Announcing its third deal in two days, the European VC has entered the directory business.

3i, the European venture capitalist, has agreed to buy the directory business of Sonera, the Finnish telecom company. The E125m deal is 3i’s third in two days and the largest it has made in Finland.

Sonera is selling Sonera Info Communications, its minority shareholdings in Conduit, 118 Ltd, and its direct stakes in Suomen Keltaiset Sivut and Suomen Numeropalvelu.

3i has invested in the businesses because it has believes there is room for another directory service in the Finnish market where more people have a mobile phone that anywhere else in Europe.

3i will face competition from Apax, the UK private equity house, which bought BT’s directory business for more than E4bn earlier this year, and Seat Pagine Gialle, the established Italian player.