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Press releases

Numericable Group
22 November 2013

Cinven completes successful Numericable Group IPO

Cinven announces the successful IPO of Numericable Group ('Numericable' or 'the Group') on NYSE Euronext Paris on 7 November 2013 in which its Third Fund reduced its shareholding from 37.5% to 18.3% (after exercise of the over-allotment option). Cinven subsequently entered into an agreement to sell1 a further 5% shareholding in Numericable to Altice on 17 November 2013.

Following these two realisations, Cinven's Third Fund will have generated gains of €1.4 billion from its investment in Numericable including its remaining shareholding in the Group (valued at the IPO price). Cinven will retain a 13.3% shareholding in Numericable which, valued at the IPO price, would give rise to a cumulative return of 4x.

Numericable is the sole major cable operator in France. Cinven originally led the investment in Numericable in March 2005 focusing on a consolidation strategy involving eight acquisitions across French B2C cable and B2B operators.

The IPO was priced at the top end of the range (€24.80 per share) and was oversubscribed by over ten times at that level, reflecting strong demand.  In addition, the over-allotment option was exercised on 14 November. As at close of 21 November 2013, Numericable shares were trading at €27.95, a 12.7% premium to the issue price.

This transaction reflects Cinven's track record of successful IPOs and successful investing in TMT businesses.

Nicolas Paulmier, Partner of Cinven Partners LLP, said:

"We are delighted to have built and backed a very entrepreneurial French telecoms group through patient consolidation of the major French cable operators and other B2B telecoms companies.  This is a highly successful investment strategy that we have also executed with Ziggo in the Netherlands within our European TMT sector team and reinforces the strength of our sector approach."

Hugh Langmuir, Managing Partner of Cinven Partners LLP, added:

"Numericable underlines our ability to continue generating capital gains in excess of €1 billion for our investors following the successful realisations of  Ziggo, Avio's aviation business, Amadeus and Phadia within the past two and a half years. The Numericable IPO further reinforces Cinven's reputation as an issuer of high quality stock, having been at the forefront of the European IPO markets in recent years with the successful IPOs of Amadeus, Partnership and Ziggo."

1 Subject to antitrust and AMF approval

Numericable business

Numericable is the result of a consolidation, initiated by Cinven and its co-investor Altice, of several French cable operators including:

  • Numericable (a combination of the cable assets of France Telecom, Canal+ (Vivendi) and TDF) acquired in March 2005
  • Altice One, the third largest cable operator in France, acquired in November 2005
  • Noos-UPC, the number two cable operator in France, acquired in July 2006

The new entity covers close to 10 million households and all of the largest French urban areas. It offers a full range of analogue and digital pay TV, internet broadband and telephony services.

Completel was acquired in September 2007 as a stand-alone investment. It is the third largest business to business infrastructure-based telecommunications operator in France. It has both a national backbone and a DSL network with 700+ exchanges covering 110 cities in France. It serves nationally both the B2B retail market as well as the B2B wholesale market through both fibre and DSL connections.

Strategy

At the time of acquisition, the strategy for the combined Group was to leverage its unique deep fibre network to become the leading alternative infrastructure provider of broadband internet and telephony services; to develop new telecom services; and to improve margins and cash flow generation across the Group. 

Progress

The strategy has been successfully implemented with the integration of the acquired businesses and the cross-selling of broadband and telephony products leading to both significant revenue and cost saving benefits.

In December 2007, the Carlyle Group signed an agreement to become a shareholder in Numericable/Completel, allowing Cinven to return further funds to its investors. In December 2010, Completel acquired Altitude Telecom, a small B2B operator with high network and operational synergies. In June 2011, Numericable sold Coditel, its operations in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Given the Group's strong financial performance and in preparation for a listing in the public markets, Cinven's Financing team was instrumental in achieving two successful high yield bond offerings in the last 18 months issuing bonds with a total value of €860 million.

The agreement to sell an additional 5% shareholding in Numericable to Altice, announced on 18 November 2013, remains subject to antitrust and AMF approval and is expected to complete in Q1 2014.