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Liberty Global sells third European arm to private equity

Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners have agreed to acquire UPC Sweden, following the recent sales of UPC Norway and UPC France to Candover and Cinven respectively.

Following the sale of its French cable business last month, US broadband cable operator Liberty Global has now reached an agreement to sell its Swedish arm to US private equity firms The Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners.
 
Liberty Global will sell UPC Sweden for a total enterprise value of Skr3.3 billion (€350 million; $427 million), including Skr255 million of capital lease obligations. Carlyle and Providence will pay a multiple of 9.3x UPC Sweden’s 2005 operating cash flow.
 
The transaction is expected to complete in the second half of 2006.
 
Carlyle and Providence are expected to combine the business with Com Hem, the Swedish television, internet and telephony business the two private equity firms acquired from EQT Partners for €1 billion last December.
 
Liberty Global has sold off several of its European assets over the last six months in order to focus on areas where the company has “significant in-country scale”. Last November, Candover acquired UPC Norway for €450 million, followed by the pending €1.2 billion sale of UPC France to Altice, a French cable operator 70 percent owned by Cinven.
 
Based in Stockholm, UPC Sweden provides domestic and foreign sport and premium movie channels, as well as digital event channels and a near-video-on-demand (NVOD) service in addition to internet services. According to Liberty Global, UPC Sweden has around 292,000 basic cable subscribers and 76,000 internet subscribers.