The Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners to buy Dutch cable TV operator, Casema, for € 665 million

London/Paris - Private Equity firms, The Carlyle Group, and Providence Equity Partners together with GMT Communications Partners have agreed to buy Dutch cable TV company, Casema, from France Telecom, for Euro 665 million. This is a positive sign for the European cable industry which has been the scene of several bankruptcies and refinancings in 2002.

Carlyle and Providence will share control of the business with each one taking a 46% stake in Casema. GMT Communications will take an 8% share.

Casema is the third largest cable TV operator in The Netherlands, with 1.3 million subscribers. Over 90% of Dutch households subscribe for cable TV and it is the stability of this customer base which has attracted the private equity funds and their banks to the deal.

“The Netherlands is one of the most attractive markets for cable TV services in Europe” said Anne Farlow, director of Providence Equity Partners, the specialist media and telecom investment fund. “We believe Casema will emerge as one of Europe's leading cable companies over the next 5 years”.

“Casema has a long tradition of providing excellent cable TV services and we believe there is strong potential to build on this to become Holland's leading provider of broadband services. Carlyle's global knowledge of the telecommunications industry will allow us to provide strong strategic input to help us achieve this goal,” said Benoit Colas, a director of The Carlyle Group in Paris.

The investment has been approved by the Nma, the Competition Authority in

The Netherlands. The transaction is expected to close by the end of January.