Baker, Nordic buy Vivendi TV unit

US-based Baker Capital has teamed with Nordic Capital to acquire Vivendi Universal’s Nordic pay television provider Canal+ Television.

(PrivateEquityCentral.net) New York-based private equity firm Baker Capital has teamed with Nordic Capital in an agreement to acquire Vivendi Universal’s Nordic pay television provider Canal+ Television.

 

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, according to a press release. Both firms will own 50 per cent of the company.

 

Canal+ Television, based in Stockholm, provides premium television and pay-per-view channels to 690,000 subscribers in the Nordic region of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. The company focuses on feature movies and sports as well as concerts, series, and special events. The programming is transmitted via satellite or digital cable. The company has annual revenues of approximately E180m ($201.2m).

 

“It’s basically the HBO of Scandinavia,” Robert Manning, a partner at Baker Capital, said. “They offer six channels of premium programming.”

 

Manning said Canal+ Television has good growth prospects because only eleven per cent of Nordic television households subscribe to premium services compared to mid-30 per cent in the US.

 

“The region has a comparable per capital GDP to the US, so there’s a huge opportunity in the market,” Manning said.

 

When the deal closes, it is expected that Baker Capital and Nordic Capital will appoint Marc-Antoine d’Halluin as president and chief executive officer. D’Halluin joins the firm from Fox Kids Europe, where he was group managing director of the channel division. He has also held management roles at Fox Kids France and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

 

Manning said Baker has been working on the deal for approximately 10 months and joined with Nordic Capital because Nordic had also been looking at the assets.

 

Vivendi Universal has been on a selling spree for the past twelve months. In its most recent sale to a private equity consortium, the company sold Viventures Partners, Vivendi’s venture capital arm, to Global Asset Capital and Hamilton Lane Advisors.

 

Earlier this month, Nordic Capital hired former Morgan Stanley managing director Christian Dyvig as a partner in its Copenhagen office. The firm closed its fifth fund in April on E1.5bn.

 

Baker Capital makes investments in equipment, services and applications, investing between $30m and $100m throughout all stages of development. Investment opportunities may include new entrants that compete with incumbent providers, equipment and component manufacturers with emerging technologies, network applications, or network infrastructure and systems suppliers.

 

Baker Capital has been the subject of LP discontent, with some LPs arguing that the firm’s $1.1bn second fund is too large for today’s smaller telecom market, according to sources close the firm.