Yellow Brick Road: Veronis Suhler Stevenson and 3i
Lead First Major Pan-European Directories Consolidation
LONDON (April 6, 2004) VS&A Communications Partners III, LP, the private equity fund affiliated with Veronis Suhler Stevenson, today jointly announced with 3i the consolidation of their three European telephone directories businesses.
Fonecta, Telefoongids, and Mediatel, leading telephone directories companies in their respective markets of Finland, the Netherlands and Central Europe (Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia), will merge to create Yellow Brick Road (YBR), a pan-European directories group with anticipated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation in the current year of approximately €160 million.
The strategy of YBR is to benefit from the scale and geographic diversity of the combined business while sharing best practices. Gary List will be appointed Chairman of YBR. The existing management teams will retain operational control of their respective businesses, led by Lex Cohen, CEO of Telefoongids, Heikki Jamsanen, CEO of Fonecta, and Gerhard Weisschadel, CEO of Mediatel, formerly a Managing Director at Veronis Suhler Stevenson.
"This unique transaction creates one of the largest directories companies in Europe," said Marco Sodi, Partner and Head of Veronis Suhler Stevenson’s European operations. “Yellow Brick Road will enjoy leading market positions in several high-growth geographies. We look forward to working with the talented management team to capitalize on its increased scale and diversification, which will position the Group to grow both organically and through follow-on acquisitions."
Veronis Suhler Stevenson and 3i initially invested a total of €280 million in the three businesses. It is expected that by combining the businesses, Veronis Suhler Stevenson will generate proceeds in excess of the original investment. CIBC, ABN AMRO and BNP Paribas are the three banks leading the funding on this deal, with Goldman Sachs acting as financial advisor.
About Veronis Suhler Stevenson
Veronis Suhler Stevenson is a leading independent private equity firm dedicated to the media, communications and information industries. Veronis Suhler Stevenson has completed over 630 transactions since its inception in 1981. The firm has acted as a financial advisor across the full spectrum of media, communication and information segments and provides the following services: private equity investment and mergers & acquisitions advisory services. VS&A Communications Partners III, LP is the third private equity fund managed by Veronis Suhler Stevenson. Capitalized at over $1 billion, it is one of the largest private equity funds dedicated exclusively to investments in the media, communications and information industries. The VSS Private Equity buyout funds have invested in 33 platform companies and 153 add-on acquisitions, across multiple media segments; the realized and unrealized enterprise value of these investments total approximately $7 billion.
3i brings capital, knowledge and connections to the creation and development of businesses around the world. It invests in a wide range of opportunities from start-ups to buy-outs and buy-ins, focusing on businesses with high growth potential and strong management. 3i invests in businesses across three continents through local investment teams in Europe, Asia Pacific and the USA. To date, 3i has invested over £15 billion (including co-investment funds). 3i has been very active in the media publishing sector. Recent deals include buying Trinity Mirror’s Northern Ireland papers in early 2004; taking a stake in French paper Liberation; backing the MBO of Lloyd’s of London Press, which became Informa plc. www.3i.com
About the Companies
- Based in Finland
- €111.5 million buyout in March 2002
- Turnover 2003 €95 million
- Based in Netherlands
- €500 million buyout completed in November 2002
- Turnover 2003 €143 million
- The core operations based in Austria , the Czech Republic and Slovakia
- The acquisitions, completed in July 2003, consisted of operations in Austria (Herold Business Data AG), Czech Republic (MediaTel), Hungary (GTE Yellow Pages Publishing – Hungary, Poland (Polskie Ksiazki Telefoniczne (PKT), Slovakia (Zlaté stránky MEDIATEL) and Gibraltar (Global Directory Services Company)
- Total turnover 2003 €151 million
Veronis Suhler Stevenson
Stanton Crenshaw Communications