Permira To Sell Remaining Stake in Freenet

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – UK private investor Permira is selling its remaining 10.1 percent in German mobile phone group freenet AG (FNTGn.DE) through a share placement managed by Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and UBS (UBSN.VX).

Permira said on Tuesday that its Dutch-based Telco Holding B.V. investment vehicle is selling the 12.9 million freenet shares, worth about 119 million euros ($172.7 million).

“The stock is being offered via an accelerated bookbuild,” Permira said, adding that the final price for the placement will be announced after the order books are closed.

In early January, Permira had said it was not selling any of its shares in the Hamburg-based company.

Last September, Permira placed 19.1 million freenet shares, or a 14.9 percent stake, at 9.25 euros each, booking 176.7 million euros ($261 million) on the sale.

The private equity firm is under pressure from its investors to return money but is struggling with investments like that in highly indebted German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 (PSMG_p.DE).

Permira became a major shareholder in 2008 when it merged its phone group Debitel with freenet in a move that saved freenet from being broken up and sold in pieces.

Freenet shares closed at 9.24 euros on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Nicola Leske; Editing by Gary Hill)