The Group is one of the fastest growing pay TV providers worldwide. Our partnership with Mid Europa saw the Group deliver excellent growth, becoming the leading home entertainment and communication services provider across the region.
- Dragan Solak, Founder and Chairman of the Group
Connecting the region
Combining market leaders in different geographies to create a regional media and telco leader
During our holding period, SBB’s Group revenue and EBITDA grew at 20% a year through acquisitive and organic growth, ultimately leading to one of the largest private equity exits in CEE.
The SBB success story dates back to 2004 when MidEuropa initiated a dialogue with the Founder and management of SBB, the leading cable TV and broadband provider in Serbia, to position itself as a preferred partner. Having previously invested in Telemach, Karneval and Aster, the leading providers of pay TV services in Slovenia, Czech Republic, and Poland respectively, the Firm leveraged its credibility and strong track record in CEE to dissuade the sellers of SBB from launching an auction process and went on to acquire SBB in 2007.
Mergers and Acquisitions
MidEuropa quickly identified SBB’s potential for organic growth and its allure as a regional consolidation platform. The subsequent acquisition and merger with Telemach in 2012 enhanced the operations of SBB and created a leading pay TV platform in South East Europe. The combined group, benefited from a unique regional reach across six sub-scale countries, with an unrivalled ability to address the entire region as a single market through a combination of cable and satellite operations. In addition, the combination enhanced cross-selling capability and synergy benefits from economies of scale and purchasing power, whilst de-risking and complementing SBB’s multi-country and high growth platform with exposure to Telemach’s EU presence which provided high cash generation and stable euro-denominated revenue streams.
The SBB Telemach Group became the leading regional pay TV platform offering access to a cumulative population of 20 million and benefitting from significant synergies as a result of operating within a single group structure. The investment was funded through secured refinancing commitments from a club of banks on attractive terms, ensuring the new Group’s growth plans were well supported. These plans were to continue organic growth, consolidation, investment in technology and achieve content advantage and synergies through the vertical integration of video distribution as well as content production and aggregation.
MidEuropa identified substantial potential for consolidating the fragmented market and supported SBB Telemach Group in completing 17 acquisitions. Today the SBB Telemach Group is the largest pay TV platform in the former Yugoslavia and one of the largest in CEE.
During the partnership with MidEuropa, the Group added over €100 million of EBITDA through organic growth and acquisitions, and offered cable and satellite TV, internet and fixed and mobile telephony services to 1.8 million revenue generating units across the region.
Following a highly competitive auction process in 2014, SBB Telemach was acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) for over €1 billion.
This investment and the transactions that created the SBB Telemach Group marked a number of milestones that demonstrate MidEuropa’s strong execution capability: the first LBO in Serbia, the first LBO in CEE post the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the first CEE recapitalisation with multi-jurisdictional debt pushdown, the largest private equity exit ever in the ex-Yugoslavia and one of the largest CEE private equity exits.