The EBRD said it has co-invested alongside private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) in last year's acquisition of a majority stake in the SBB/Telemach group - South East Europe’s leading regional Pay TV platform, from Mid Europa Partners.
The EBRD said in a statement its financing in this project was up to EUR 50mn, while the total project cost is EUR 1bn. It was not immediately clear what ownership stake does the EBRD has in SBB/Telemach following the transaction, which is still subject to regulatory approvals.
The EBRD was also a minority partner of Mid Europa in SBB/Telemach prior to Mid Europa's exit in
October 2013 when the group was sold to KKR. The deal is among the region's largest M&A transactions in the past years.
The EBRD said the acquisition will increase competition in the telecom sector, dominated by incumbent operators, and support "the expansion of a regional telecom and media player that has demonstrated the use of best practice across various markets and geographies".
The project should as well encourage other large global buy-out firms to look at Eastern European companies.
SBB/Telemach operates in Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro and Macedonia – a market of over 20 million people, and has around 1.7 million cable and satellite TV, broadband, fixed and mobile customers.
The group comprises SBB - the largest cable operator in Serbia, as well as the largest cable operator in Slovenia and Bosnia – Telemach, along with another 15 smaller firms. Moreover, SBB already operates on the fixed telephony market in Serbia and plans to become the fourth mobile operator in the country soon.
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