| LONDON, July 28
LONDON, July 28 Private equity firm Astorg
Partners has acquired a majority stake in Luxembourg-based
satellite TV business M7, the companies announced on Monday.
In 2007, Providence Equity Partners bought a 50 percent
stake in Canal Digitaal in the Netherlands from Airbridge,
backed with 250 million euros of debt, according to Thomson
Reuters LPC data.
They then expanded the company to include TV Vlaanderen in
Flanders, TeleSAT in Belgium, AustriaSat in Austria and CS Link
and Skylink for the Czech and Slovak market. The group was
branded M7 in 2009.
Following the sale to Astorg, Providence and Airbridge will
maintain a significant minority stake in M7.
There is unlikely to be any new debt raised to back Astorg's
acquisition as M7's existing debt has portability, a mechanism
that allows debt to remain in place despite a change of control,
banking sources said on Monday.
Astorg declined to comment on the financing.
The sale of a majority stake comes after Providence and
Airbridge took around 110 million euros as a dividend payment
from the company in June. It was the second dividend to be taken
from M7 in the space of a year. The first dividend to be taken
totalled around 312 million euros last summer as part of a wider
335 million euro refinancing.
(Editing by Christopher Mangham)