08.57 Europe/London, July 22, 2011 By Julian Clover

BC Partners has emerged as the new owner of Swedish cable operator Com Hem. The private equity firm purchased the triple play provider from Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners in a deal estimated to be worth €1.8 billion.

“BC Partners has an international telecom expertise and knows our business very well. I am convinced that we, with BC Partners as our new owner, will further develop our already strong position on the Swedish market”, says Tomas Franzén, CEO at Com Hem.

Around 1.8 million households are connected to the Com Hem network that began life in the ownership of the Swedish PTT. Carlyle and Providence acquired Com Hem from EQT in 2006 and, in the same year, they acquired UPC Sweden, the former StärnTVNätet.

In recent days there had been speculation that Carlyle might instead opt for an IPO. CVC Capital Partners and Nordic Capital both withdrew from the process last Thursday. This left just BC Partners and Cinven in the auction.

Nearly SEK 4 billion (€440,000m) on developing the company, upgrading the network to the highest international standard and developing new services such as VOD and broadband up to 200 Mbps. The new owner said it intended to invest in the further development of digital television and broadband internet services.

Benoit Colas, managing director of Carlyle Europe Partners, says: “Com Hem has proved to be an excellent investment for Carlyle and Providence, having delivered strong growth and robust performance even through challenging economic times. We congratulate Tomas Franzén and his team for their extraordinary achievements during our partnership.”

Completion is expected in September 2011 subject to receiving EU regulatory approval.