Mid Europa Partners acquires leading Serbian cable, internet and satellite TV player

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Mid Europa Partners has completed the acquisition of a substantial controlling stake in Serbia Broadband, the leading cable TV and broadband internet provider in Serbia and a provider of direct-to-home satellite TV services across the territory of the former Yugoslavia from SEEF I, managed by Bedminster Capital Management.

Bedminster's SEEF II fund is investing alongside Mid Europa in SBB, which has nearly half a million subscribers across its three service platforms and is one of the fastest-growing cable TV companies in central and eastern Europe, generating an annual revenue growth rate of more than 60per cent over the past two years.

SBB has a leading position in the cable TV and internet market in the Serbian capital Belgrade and a strong presence throughout the country. The group's satellite TV platform, Total TV, is rapidly expanding in Serbia, as well as in neighbouring countries of the former Yugoslavia, on the back of its strong local content.

Robert Knorr, who led the transaction for Mid Europa, says: 'We are delighted to have acquired such a high growth and market-leading asset. This ground-breaking deal, which was executed by Michelle Capiod and Andrej Babace, represents the first leveraged buy-out in Serbia and demonstrates our ability to implement complex transactions in new markets.

'Mid Europa is intimately familiar with the markets of the former Yugoslavia, having previously invested in Slovenia and Croatia. We plan to leverage on our track record and established relationships in the cable TV sector and look forward to supporting SBB's management team through significant capital investment and know-how.'

Adds SBB chief executive Dragan Solak: 'Under the ownership of SEEF I, SBB became the leading operator in the Serbian cable TV market, having been the first to introduce high-quality video content and broadband internet. The management is delighted to welcome Mid Europa, who with their experience in the sector and their ambition to grow the business will be excellent partners for us going forward.'

Unicredit Markets and Investment Banking, acting through Bank Austria Creditanstalt in Vienna, acted as sole underwriter and mandated lead arranger of the financing package. Mid Europa was advised by Berwin Leighton Paisner, Kirkland & Ellis, Karanovic & Nikolic, Hardiman Telecom and PwC.

Mid Europa Partners is a leading private equity firm investing in central and eastern Europe. Operating from offices in London, Budapest and Warsaw, the firm advises and manages funds with committed capital in excess of EUR1.1bn. The Mid Europa Partners team has been investing in central and eastern Europe since 1999. Mid Europa Partners is the investment manager to Emerging Europe Convergence Fund II, whose fund manager and general partner is EMP Europe Management.

Mid Europa Partners has made investments in 16 companies in 12 countries in the region, including Pilkington Russia (glass production), Wheelabrator (manufacturer of surface treatment equipment) and Aster (Polish cable TV operator), Calucem (Croatian supplier of calcium aluminate cement), Radiokomunikace (Czech TV and radio broadcaster) and T-Mobile Czech Republic (mobile telecommunications) and Bité (mobile operator in Lithuania and Latvia).
Last week Mid Europa and France Telecom/Orange announced the acquisition of One, the third-ranking mobile operator in Austria.

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