The long-running attempt to sell a stake in Greek telco and pay-TV provider Forthnet has moved one step closer to completion. A report from Kathimerini says that Forthnet creditors have entered exclusive negotiations with BC Partners, owner of United Group, which has telecoms and media operations across south-eastern Europe. It is thought BC Partners has offered over EUR40 million (USD43 million) for Forthnet shares held by a group of four Greek banks – Piraeus, National, Alpha and Attica – and will also assume around EUR310 million of debt.
Kathimerini adds that, according to capital market rules, BC Partners will have to make an obligatory public offer for the acquisition of the rest of the company’s share capital in a squeeze-out move. Given that the capitalisation of Forthnet is around EUR52 million, and with a hypothetical premium of 20%, BC Partners may pay another EUR50 million for the rest of the shares.
CommsUpdate reported last week that two other firms had shown an interest in Forthnet – investment firms Duet Private Equity and Antenna Group, which has a portfolio of TV, radio and media operations covering Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro. A bid by Greek media company Alter Ego collapsed earlier this year.
United Group has been expanding its operations across south eastern Europe, recently completing the takeover of Tele2 Croatia and moving to buy Vivacom of Bulgaria, which itself has just acquired Telekom Albania from OTE Group.