BY Fraser Tennant
In a deal which will boost its position as the communication and media leader in South Eastern Europe, United Group B.V. is to be acquired by private equity (PE) firm BC Partners from fellow investor KKR.
Following completion of the transaction, KKR, which manages multiple alternative asset classes, including PE, energy, infrastructure, real estate and credit, will maintain a substantial minority stake.
The financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.
“We are delighted to partner with United Group’s management team and KKR to support the company’s next phase of growth,” said Nikos Stathopoulos, a partner at BC Partners. “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.”
Since its inception, BC Partners’ PE team has completed 104 PE investments in companies with a total enterprise value of €129bn and is currently investing its tenth private equity fund.
Investing in United Group since 2014, KKR has helped the company to become the leading provider of communications and media services in South Eastern Europe. United Group’s fibre and cable networks have the largest presence in the region, covering 1.82 million homes which benefit from broadband speeds substantially higher than local peers and high quality local and international content.
Over the past 18 years, United Group has expanded its presence through both organic growth and acquisitions, now employing over 3400 staff. “We are proud of the way in which United Group has developed,” said Jean-Pierre Saad, managing director at KKR. “It is a great example of a truly convergent operator across communications and media with market leading product innovation and services.”
Acting as advisers to BC Partners are Morgan Stanley and LionTree, while Credit-Suisse is advising United Group. The transaction is subject to relevant regulatory approvals.
Mr Saad concluded: “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.”