BC Partners takes controlling stake in SE Europe cable company United
London-based private equity group BC Partners is buying control of south-east European cable, telecoms and media company United Group, in a deal that values the business at €2.6 billion.
United Group has operations in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Slovenia, including TV channels, cable networks and over-the-top (OTT) video services. The new investor said the deal positions United for “organic and acquisitive growth”.
BC Partners also invests in Altice’s Suddenlink/Cablevision networks in the US and in the Intelsat satellite operator, as well as in the Cyxtera cloud and data centre company.
Jean-Pierre Saad, managing director at KKR, which sold the stake to BC Partners, said: “We are proud of the way in which United Group has developed over the last five years. It is a great example of a truly convergent operator across communications and media with market leading product innovation and services.”
The United Group has expanded its presence over 18 years through both organic growth and acquisitions, and now employs over 3,400 staff and provides services to over 1.8m homes.
United Group said its fibre and cable networks have the largest presence in the region, covering 1.82 million homes which benefit from broadband speeds over 2.6 times higher than local peers and high quality local and international content.
Saad added: “We will remain closely committed to the further development of United Group and are looking forward to working with BC Partners and the management team to further strengthen the company’s growth.”
Nikos Stathopoulos, partner at BC Partners, said: “We are delighted to partner with United Group’s management team and KKR to support the company’s next phase of growth. United Group is a high-quality asset, with defensive growth characteristics, leading infrastructure, differentiated content and loyal customers. Its attractive and integrated business model and regional leadership position it well for further organic and acquisitive growth.”