Searchlight in $585m cable merger

Searchlight Capital Partners will acquire a minority stake in international cable company Liberty Global following a merger with Puerto Rico-based cable business OneLink Communications.

Searchlight Capital Partners will purchase Puerto Rico-based cable company OneLink Communications in a deal valued at approximately $585 million.

The firm is investing alongside NASDAQ-listed international cable company Liberty Global. As a part of the transaction, OneLink will be merged with Liberty Global’s existing cable operation in Puerto Rico. The resulting company will be 40 percent owned by Searchlight and 60 percent owned by Liberty Global. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Searchlight was unavailable for comment at press time.

The firm, which closed its maiden fund on $860 million in April, has made one other acquisition from its first fund, acquiring UK-based boot manufacturer Hunter Boots for an undisclosed sum last December.

Searchlight launched the fundraising soon after it was established in 2010 by a trio of senior private equity professionals: Oliver Haarmann, a London-based partner at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts; Erol Uzumeri, the former head of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan's direct investment arm, Teachers' Private Capital; and Eric Zinterhofer, formerly co-head of the media and telecommunications group at Apollo Management.

Investors in Searchlight's fund included the New York State Common Retirement Fund, as well as a number of other “blue chip institutional investors”, according to a source with knowledge of the process. LPs were mainly concentrated in North American and Europe, the source said.

Searchlight targets investments in a range of industry sectors in North America and Europe.