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Discovery, Providence Equity eye S.Korean pay-TV firm- Korea Economic Daily

(Reuters) – Discovery Communications Inc and private equity firm Providence Equity Partners were among four U.S. bidders expressing interest in South Korean cable TV firm C&M Co, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Discovery, Providence and two other unidentified U.S.-based parties submitted letters of intent for the cable TV firm in an initial bidding process, Korea Economic Daily reported, citing unnamed investment banking sources.

Sellers led by Asian private equity firm MBK Partners are selling 93.8 percent of C&M, South Korea’s No.5 pay-TV firm which sellers hope could be worth up to $2.9 billion.

The company is expected to fetch between 2.48 trillion won ($2.27 billion) and 3.1 trillion won based on a global cable TV industry valuation average of 8-10 times EBITDA, people briefed on the matter had previously told Reuters.

Shareholders including MBK and Australian bank Macquarie Group first bought a controlling stake in C&M in 2008 for around 2.1 trillion won.

Representatives for MBK, Macquarie and C&M declined comment, while those for Discovery Communications, Providence Equity and Goldman Sachs could not be immediately reached.

South Korean pay-TV competitors including CJ HelloVision and SK Broadband did not enter letters of intent because they believed the sellers expected too high a price, officials at the firms have said.

C&M also owns a majority stake in IHQ Inc, a talent management company whose unit manages K-pop groups such as 4minute.