BC Partners Said to Consider IPO of Sweden’s Com Hem

BC Partners Ltd. has held preliminary talks with the management of Com Hem AB about an initial public offering of Sweden’s largest cable operator, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

Discussions between Com Hem and the London-based private-equity firm are at an early stage, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. No decision has been reached, and BC hasn’t appointed advisers to manage a possible sale, two of the people said.

Telecommunications and media businesses including Spain’s Grupo Corporativo ONO SA and Vivendi SA’s SFR are seeking to sell shares amid renewed investor interest in the industry. The Stoxx 600 Technology Index has gained about 19 percent in the last 12 months compared with a 16 percent increase in the main Stoxx 600 Index in the same period.

Com Hem named Andrew Barron, former chief operating officer of U.K. pay-TV operator Virgin Media, as executive chairman in December 2013 with a remit to find a replacement for Chief Executive Officer Tomas Franzen. A new CEO is expected to be in place before a final decision on an IPO is made, two of the people said.

BC Partners agreed to buy the Stockholm-based TV, telephone and broadband operator in July 2011 from U.S. buyout firms Carlyle Group LP and Providence Equity Partners Inc. for about $2.6 billion. Com Hem had adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 2.26 billion kronor ($351 million) in 2012, up 5.8 percent from 2011, according to statements on the company’s website.

A spokesman for BC Partners in London and Com Hem Chief Financial Officer Joachim Jaginder declined to comment.

Vivendi, which is preparing a spinoff of French phone unit SFR, is also weighing a possible sale of the division to cable provider Numericable Group SA and its biggest investor Altice SA, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News this month.

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