Mid Europa seals €120m Slovenian comms deal

The CEE-focused firm will merge UPC Slovenia with a portfolio company in Serbia.

In the first leveraged buyout in Central and Eastern European since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, private equity firm Mid Europa Partners has completed the acquisition of UPC Slovenia, a Slovenian cable and broadband operator, in a deal worth €119.5 million.

Under Mid Europa’s ownership, UPC Slovenia will be chaired by Dragan Solak, the head of Mid Europa’s existing portfolio company SBB, a Serbian provider of pay TV and broadband services. Solak will prime the two businesses, which between them will hold a market leading postion in the former Yugoslavia, for a merger to take place when some liquidity returns to the debt markets, Robert Knorr, a partner at Mid Europa, told PEO.

Acquisition finance amounting to €63 million was provided by five European banks: ING, UniCredit, BNP Paribas, West LB and Natixis. The investment was made from Mid Europa’s third fund, a €1.5 billion vehicle that closed in 2007.

The telecoms and pay TV sector is a sweet spot for Mid Europa. As well as UPC and SBB, in October last year the firm purchased a 37.3 percent stake in Falcon Group, a conglomerate that owns companies providing analogue and digital television services and telecommunications in the Czech Republic.