International investment firm BC Partners has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Balkan cable operator United Group from KKR. KKR will retain a substantial minority stake in the group, which has operations including cable-based broadband, TV and telephony services in Serbia (as Serbia Broadband [SBB]), Montenegro, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzgovina (all under the Telemach name) alongside providing satellite TV and IPTV services throughout Europe and worldwide as Total TV and nettvplus, respectively. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but the Wall Street Journal cites people familiar with the matter as saying that the deal valued United Group at EUR2.6 billion (USD3.0 billion). The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) also holds a minority stake in United Group.
Nikos Stathopoulos, Partner at BC Partners, said of the deal: ‘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.’