US-based private equity firm Providence Equity Partners has agreed to purchase a controlling stake of undisclosed size in Volia Cable, Ukraine’s largest provider of cable TV and cable broadband internet services, and announced that it will invest more than USD200 million in the company. Ukraine’s Anti-Monopoly Committee announced it would permit the acquisition of a majority stake in Volia on 30 November.
Volia was set up by the SigmaBleyzer equity investment firm, founded by Ukrainian-born Michael Bleyzer, and was formed through the consolidation of three cable companies acquired in 1999 and 2000. Controlled by a SigmaBleyzer-managed fund, UGF III, Volia connects more than 900,000 homes to its cable TV network in four major cities. Around 90% of homes passed are in Kyiv, but it has recently expanded into Lviv, Alchevsk, and Chernivtsi, providing services including analogue and digital cable TV, high speed cable modem internet access, VoIP telephony and data applications for business users. According to analysts quoted by local press, Volia Cable will use the investment from Providence to further expand across the country and solidify its market share. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Volia had 130,000 broadband internet subscribers at end-June 2007, rising to an estimated 175,000 by the end of September.