PPF Group linked to possible United Group bid

14 Aug 2018

Peter Kellner’s PPF Group, which recently completed the acquisition of Telenor Group’s telecommunications assets in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia, is reportedly among the list of interested parties looking to acquire Netherlands-based United Group, a major cable and pay-TV operator in the Balkans region. Balkan Insight reports two unnamed sources as saying that United Group plans to meet potential buyers in the coming weeks, ahead of a planned auction in September. As reported by CommsUpdate earlier this month the auction has attracted takeover interest from the likes of 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 cableco, which has been backed by US firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) since March 2014, 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, will be led by Credit Suisse, with one unnamed source claiming that KKR wants to finalise the sale by the end of the year. PPF Group, United Group and KKR all declined to comment on the development.

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