Amsterdam (February 17, 2003) – Having received regulatory approval in the Netherlands Feb. 3, VS&A Communications Partners III, LP, the private equity fund affiliated with of New York media merchant bank Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS), and 3i plc, Europe's leading venture capital investor, completed the purchase of Telefoongids Media BV (formerly TeleMedia), the directory publishing company of Royal KPN N.V. The €500 million ($502.2 million) transaction closed Feb. 13, broadly in line with the terms originally announced in November 2002.
The European directory publishing sector is well-positioned for future growth, as evidenced by the better-than-anticipated 2002 profit reports for Telefoongids, and VSS expects further substantial improvements to the earnings of the business during the coming year.
“We are particularly pleased with the way in which the management buy-in team has performed throughout the transaction and are confident we have the right people in place to put Telefoongids’ business plan into action,” said Marco Sodi, partner at VSS and head of the firm’s London office.
This transaction was the result of a concerted effort between VSS and 3i to target acquisitions in the European directory publishing sector, where both firms see significant opportunities for continuing consolidation and market expansion. In March 2002, VSS and 3i were co-investors on the €111.5 million ($96 million) buyout of Finnish-based Sonera Info Communications Ltd., renamed Fonecta, one of Europe's leading telephone directory services providers.
Previously, VSS has been active in the U.S. directory publishing sector. VS&A Communications Partners II, LP, acquired Yellow Book USA, one of the largest independent telephone directory publishers in the eastern U.S. The company was later sold to British Telecom for approximately $665 million.
“Strong fundamentals in the directory services business continue to provide value-creation opportunities in the current environment. Therefore, we will maintain our effort with 3i to identify acquisitions in this space,” said Mr. Sodi.
Allen & Overy served as legal advisors on the transaction, and ABN Amro was the sole underwriter of the debt financing.Veronis Suhler Stevenson is a leading independent merchant bank dedicated to the media, communications and information industries. VS&A Communications Partners III, LP (Fund III) is the third private equity fund managed by Veronis Suhler Stevenson. Capitalized at $1 billion, it is one of the largest private equity funds dedicated exclusively to investments in the media, communications and information industries. Together with Fund III's predecessor funds, VS&A Communications Partners have invested in 29 platform companies across media segments and the realized and unrealized enterprise value of these investments total approximately $5 billion.
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