Cinven returns €1.5bn on Numericable exit


UK private equity firm Cinven has confirmed plans to roll its entire residual holding in French cable company Numericable into Altice following the announcement of its agreement to acquire SFr from Vivendi.

Cinven partnered with Altice to create Numericable via a series of acquisitions, latterly in partnership with fellow private equity firm Carlyle, that has generated “significant” returns, Cinven said. The company was reported to be seeking an IPO last year.

Cinven and Altice created the Numericable Group via the acquisition of Numericable in March 2005 and Altice One, acquired in November 2005. Consolidation took numerous steps involving five acquisitions and seven re-financings from 2005 to 2013. By year end 2007, Numericable had its current group, and Carlyle came into the capital in 2008 taking 38 per cent along Cinven 38 per cent and Altice 24 per cent.

Through the refinancing and partial sale, Cinven had already returned its capital by 2008.

With the IPO and the SFR/Numericable deal, Cinven generated an IRR of 160 per cent and a capital gain of more than €1.5bn of which €1.25bn will be in cash (€1bn returned to date and another €0.25bn to come in nine months), and €0.25bn in shares of Altice (at the current market price) following the roll over agreement signed this weekend with Altice.

November 2013 saw a partial exit through the successful IPO and sell-down of Numericable to Altice.Cinven stake decreases from 37.5 per cent to 18.3 per cent, while there was a further stake sell-down to Altice in February 2013 – from 18.3 per cent to 13.3 per cent.

In April 2014, SFR was acquired for €17bn EV (of which €13.5bn cash payment to Vivendi with a 20 per cent stake granted to Vivendi in the combined entity), roll-over of Cinven stake into Altice Group.

Cincen partner Nicolas Paulmier said, “Numericable build up and ultimate acquisition of SFR is a case study of what Cinven and Private Equity can bring to a entrepreneur and make the common vision come true with patience. The ultimate rewards for our LPs clients are proportional to the strategic achievement.”

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