Macquarie and MBK team up in Korean cable TV deal

Macquarie Bank and MBK Partners, a North Asian buyout group, have abandoned the fight for a Korean cable TV operator and instead teamed up to acquire it in a deal worth $3 billion.

Macquarie Bank and MBK Partners, a North Asia buyout group in Seoul, Tokyo and Shanghai, are teaming up to acquire C&M, a Korean cable TV operator in a transaction valued at $3.2 billion (€2.36 billion).

Macquarie, which manages a Korean infrastructure fund, is buying Goldman Sachs’ 30 percent stake in C&M for $970 million. It is looking to partner with MBK to acquire the remaining shares in the local cable TV operator, according to a number of media reports.

Macquarie was vying with MBK for Goldman Sachs’ stake before the two decided to jointly invest in the company. A Macquarie spokeswoman said the company would not comment on market speculations while an official from MBK Partners declined to comment.

“Now Macquarie and MBK are in negotiations to jointly buy the remaining 70 percent. But sellers have not confirmed whether they will sell all of their shares,” according to an unnamed source on Reuters.

MBK had previously offered to buy C&M for 3 trillion Korean won ($3.2 billion). Separately it is in the running to buy Japanese accounting software firm Yayoi from Livedoor in a deal that values the business at more than $500 million.

The North Asia-focused buyout group made waves when it made its debut with a $1.56 billion fund last year. Founded by former Carlyle executives, MBK is understood to be mulling raising a second fund with a $3 billion target before the year is over.

While the buyout firm is planning a new fund, much will depend on deployment of the existing fund, according to a source familiar with the MBK’s intentions.

Korea has proved a challenging market for buyout firms to make investments, and businesses that interest private equity have often attracted cash-rich local strategic buyers.

The Korean electronics retailer Himart, owned by Affinity Equity Partners, has attracted both private equity and strategic buyers although it was not formally up for sale, according to a source close to the company

A Bloomberg report had identified The Blackstone Group, The Carlyle Group and CCMP Asia as keen contenders for a sale being arranged by Goldman Sachs.