TDC and buyout firms vie for Norway's cable operator Get: sources

Reuters

By Pamela Barbaglia and Freya Berry

LONDON/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Norway's second-biggest cable operator Get expects to receive binding offers from Denmark's TDC and two heavyweight private equity funds in a sale that could value the company at around 1.4 billion euros ($1.84 billion) including debt, several sources familiar with the situation said.

European private equity firms BC Partners [BCPRT.UL] and EQT will table their bids ahead of a deadline of Sept. 11 and will face competition from Danish telecoms group TDC, the sources said on Friday.

Earlier this year Get's owners, the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs and investment firm Quadrangle, hired advisors for a possible stock market floatation of Get after the European summer.

Since then the two have launched a sales process in tandem with preparations for an IPO in a dual track process which would allow them to realize their investment, said the sources.

Get and EQT were not immediately available for comment. Representatives of TDC and BC Partners declined to comment.

Two of the sources said the asset could fetch at least nine times core earnings (EBITDA) of 150 million euros, reflecting similar multiples of Swedish peer Com Hem.

Com Hem, which listed in Stockholm in June, trades at an enterprise value to EBITDA multiple of 8.8 forecast earnings.

Get has so far reported stronger growth than Com Hem and would therefore trade at a higher multiple than its Swedish peer, a third source said.

BC Partners holds a 47.7 percent stake in Com Hem although any offers for Get will not involve a joint bid with Com Hem, said two sources.

GS Capital Partners and Quadrangle bought Get, Norway's No.2 cable operator behind Telenor, from private equity firm Candover for around $1.1 billion including debt in late 2007.

The recent plan to sell Get comes amid a flurry of deal activity in the European cable sector. Vodafone earlier this year agreed to buy Spain's largest cable firm, Ono, in a $10 billion deal and U.S. cable TV provider Liberty Global is set to gain EU antitrust approval to acquire Ziggo.

Reuters reported in May that Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Barclays and UBS were hired to run an IPO for Get.

(Additional reporting by Anjuli Davies and Sven Nordenstam; Editing by Michael Urquhart)

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