Netherlands-based cable and pay-TV operator United Group has attracted takeover interest from European private equity funds Cinven and BC Partners, ahead of a planned auction in September. Two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that the cableco, which has been backed by US firm KKR since 2013, could be valued at around EUR2 billion (USD2.3 billion). United Group’s SBB division is Serbia’s largest cable company, and its Telemach-branded cableco operations cover Slovenia, Bosnia and Montenegro. The company claims to have deployed over 15,000km of fibre-optic cable across the Balkan region, reaching 1.77 million homes.
The forthcoming auction, which is led by Credit Suisse, is expected to kick off in September, and so far has attracted interest from Cinven, BC Partners, Apax and CVC Capital Partners; Cinven previously tried to buy United Group in 2013, when its then-owner Mid Europa auctioned the operator. The private equity investors have all carried out preliminary work on the asset, with one unnamed source claiming that KKR wants to finalise the sale by the end of the year.