KKR-backed United Group invests in South East Europe

United Group, the leading multi-play (pay-TV, broadband, telephony, mobile) operator in South East Europe, backed by leading US investment firm KKR and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), has agreed to acquire the Croatian and Slovenian media portfolio owned by CME. The transaction is subject to the relevant regulatory approvals.
The portfolio of assets includes leading TV channels in Slovenia and Croatia, two economies estimated to post real GDP growth of over 2% annually between 2016 and 2018.
United Group, will invest in those channels to further build their local production capabilities and expand their reach beyond their respective local markets by leveraging its regional and international footprint.
KKR has invested over $8bn in Telecoms, Media and Digital sectors globally and has particular expertise in supporting businesses grow and develop in the digital age. Since 1996, KKR has invested in 58 companies across sectors in Europe, representing over $20 billion in invested long-term capital, as of 31st March 2017.
Jean-Pierre Saad, Director at KKR, said: “KKR has a strong track record of supporting media and telecom businesses to grow further in the current digital ecosystem. By investing in high quality local and international content, we will support the United Group teams to continue to offer differentiated and attractive content to all its customers across the region. KKR, EBRD and United Group will work closely with all relevant authorities to ensure a smooth transition, in line with European standards.”
Dirk Werner, Director Information and Communication Technologies at the EBRD, said: “Today’s announcement represents a strong a vote of confidence in the Croatian and Slovenian economies by a leading international investor and will offer consumers direct access to high quality local and international digital content.”
KKR made its investment in United Group primarily through its third European fund.