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Mid Europa seals €1.3bn Orange Austria exit

3 Feb 2012

CEE-focused private equity firm Mid Europa Partners and France Telecom-Orange have agreed to sell Orange Austria to Hutchison 3G Austria, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based property development and infrastructure conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, for an enterprise value of €1.3bn.

Mid Europa bought a 65 per cent stake in Orange Austria in 2007. France Telecom, Orange’s parent company, owns the remaining 35 per cent stake. The company had estimated revenues last year of around €500m and a total customer base of 2.3 million at the end of 2011, and employs nearly 800 people.

As part of the deal, Hutchison will sell frequencies, base station sites, the mobile phone operator Yesss! Telekommunikation, as well as certain intellectual property rights to Telekom Austria Group. Hutchison has also agreed to pay a €70m integration-related, performance-based consideration to Mid Europa two years following the closing of the transaction.

Thierry Baudon, a managing partner at Mid Europa, said, “We believe that the proposed transaction is in line with the global consolidation trend in the mobile industry and represents the best solution for Orange Austria’s subscribers, employees as well as shareholders.

“The Austrian mobile market will benefit from the establishment of three large mobile operators with first class networks, sufficient spectrum as well as scale necessary to make future investments and the resulting service offerings and quality levels will become increasingly visible to their customers.”

Mid Europa is an active player in the European telecoms sector, and also holds a significant minority stake in T-Mobile Czech Republic. Last month the firm recapitalised the company with CZK9.125bn (€365m), marking one of the largest recaps in Central and Eastern Europe since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

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