Swedish capital group EQT yesterday signed an agreement to sell Stockholm-based cable broadband operator Com hem to the Carlyle Group and Providence Equity of the US for a price rumoured to be in the region of EUR1 billion (USD1.3 billion). Completion of the transaction is pending approval from anti-monopoly authorities. EQT first agreed to sell Com hem to Carlyle and Providence in December 2005. The two equity groups also jointly own Dutch cable TV operator Casema and have stakes in Kabel Deutschland of Germany and Grupo Corporativo of Spain.
EQT acquired Com hem from Swedish telco TeliaSonera in 2003, and has invested up to SEK1 billion (USD130 million) in the company, which provides services to 207,000 broadband internet subscribers, or 10% of the retail market, as well as 210,000 digital TV customers and 70,000 telephony users. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Com hem launched digital TV in 1997 and added high speed internet access over its proprietary cable network in 1999. The addition of nationwide voice services in 2004 completed its triple-play portfolio. Its network is available to a third of Swedish households, half of whom are able to receive broadband, and it hopes to have 100% broadband coverage by 2007.