UnitedGlobalCom, Inc. ("UGC") (Nasdaq: UCOMA) today announced that, through one of its affiliates, it reached an agreement with EMP Europe, a leading private equity firm dedicated to Central and Eastern Europe, and several other Slovenian shareholders to acquire their interests in Telemach d.o.o. ("Telemach").
Telemach is the largest broadband communications provider in Slovenia with over 100,000 cable TV subscribers and 10,000 broadband Internet customers.
Since its foundation in 1999, Telemach has realized significant financial and operational growth. Revenue has grown over 25% per annum over the last three years and more than 85% of its network has been upgraded to 862 MHz. In addition, approximately two-thirds of Telemach's network supports broadband Internet and digital television services.
UGC will acquire a 100% interest in Telemach based on a total enterprise value of €74 million, which represents a multiple of approximately 8.2 times expected 2004 fourth quarter annualized normalized EBITDA. UGC will pay cash of approximately €71 million for its 100% interest.
The transaction is subject to review by the Slovenian competition authorities and expected to close in the first quarter of 2005.
Mike Fries, President and Chief Executive Officer of UGC, said, "This acquisition represents a unique opportunity to take a leadership position in a new Central and Eastern European market for UGC. Slovenia, which recently joined the EU, has the highest GDP per capita in the region and is adjacent to Austria and Hungary where we currently have large operations. Telemach has upgraded most of its network and, as the largest operator in the country, has achieved good scale and profitability."
Thierry Baudon, Chief Executive Officer of EMP Europe, said "Since EMP became the majority shareholder of Telemach in 2000, Telemach developed from a small cable operator with less than 20,000 subscribers, into Slovenia's undisputed market leader with more than 100,000 video subscribers and operating margins in excess of 45%. Over the last five years, Telemach upgraded its network, introduced new services such as high-speed Internet access and digital video services, thereby changing the public's perception of cable services from a utility-type operator to an innovative company providing a wide range of value-added products and services. We are delighted to have successfully developed the company and wish Telemach and its new owners well for the future."
Rothschild advised EMP Europe on this transaction.