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Private equity giants eye £10bn EE purchase in wake of mammoth Dell deal

7 Feb 2013

mobile-phone_lrg1Two pairs of private equity giants are reportedly eyeing the biggest PE-backed European purchase since the global financial crisis, with a potential £10bn buyout of the UK’s largest mobile operator EE.

Attempts to bring in financing for the purchase have gained traction following the successful $24bn deal for computer giant Dell earlier this week, the FT said, citing people with knowledge of the talks.

It said two groups – one led by Apax Partners and KKR, the other by Blackstone and CVC Capital Partners – hoped to raise a debt package of up to £7bn for the deal, with the remaining capital coming from their own equity.

The firms were also likely to seek co-investments from LPs in their funds, it added.

Credit markets have been buoyed in the wake of Dell selling itself to a consortium led by founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake this week – marking the largest leveraged buyout since the 2008 financial crash.

That deal was the biggest since a Blackstone-led consortium bought semiconductor company Freescale in 2006 for $17.5bn, while the EE purchase would be the largest in Europe since KKR’s £12bn take-private deal for UK pharmacy chain Alliance Boots in 2007.

EE was created as an equal joint-merger between T-Mobile and Orange in 2010 by respective owners Deutsche Telekom and France Télécom.

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