Private Equity Firms Exit Ziggo

(Reuters) – Private equity firms Cinven and Warburg Pincus and co-investors completed their exit from Dutch cable firm Ziggo on Friday in a placement of their remaining holdings for about 875 million euros ($1.14 billion).

The two firms and co-investors have sold about 34 million shares via an accelerated bookbuild offering at 25.75 euros per share, Ziggo said in a statement on Friday.

Ziggo shares were down 6.2 percent at 26.12 euros at 1250 GMT, although were still 41 percent above their flotation price on the Amsterdam stock exchange in March 2012.

The buyout firms have been steadily reducing their holdings since that initial public offering.

Last month, they raised 1 billion euros from the sale of a 20 percent stake, cutting their combined holding to 17 percent.

Cinven and Warburg Pincus said on Friday that they had each generated proceeds of 1.7 billion euros from Ziggo. Cinven said its return was 2.8 times its investment.

Ziggo did not say who bought the shares.

Ziggo, which has 2.9 million television customers and 1.8 broadband subscribers, was built up by Warburg Pincus after its initial investment in regional Dutch cable operator Multikabel in 2005.

With Cinven, it added cable companies Casema and Essent Kabelcom and merged them together into Ziggo in 2008.

Last month, Liberty Global (LBTYA.O), which owns Dutch rival UPC, said it had bought a 12.65 percent stake in Ziggo for 632.5 million euros, prompting speculation it might make a full bid.

Liberty already plans to buy Britain’s second biggest pay-TV company Virgin Media (VMED.O) and is reportedly preparing a bid for Kabel Deutschland (KD8Gn.DE) in Germany where it owns Unitymedia Kabel BW, the country’s No. 2 cable company.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock