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UPDATE 1-TDF mulls sale of Finnish broadcast arm Digita -sources
December 14, 2011 / 1:00 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-TDF mulls sale of Finnish broadcast arm Digita -sources

* Digita could fetch about 400 mln euros -sources

* Goldman Sachs hired to advise on sale process -sources

* Sweden’s Teracom, private equity firms could be interested -sources (Adds details)

By Simon Meads and Tarmo Virki

LONDON/HELSINKI, Dec 14 (Reuters) - TDF is considering the sale its Finnish business Digita as the private equity-backed French broadcasting group prepares the ground for its stock market listing, people familiar with the situation said.

Digita could fetch about 400 million euros ($520 million) and could appeal to rival broadcast network operators and private equity firms, some of those people said on Wednesday.

Goldman Sachs has been picked to advise on the sale after the company received expressions of interest, two of the people said.

TDF, backed by buyout groups TPG, AXA Private Equity and Charterhouse, operates more than 11,000 radio and television transmitters across Europe, offering broadcasting services to customers such as Kabel Deutschland , BT BroadCast and T-Systems.

It also counts French sovereign wealth fund FSI among its investors.

Rival Finnish operator DNA is likely to be blocked from acquiring Digita, but the business could appeal to Swedish state-owned group Teracom, which bought Finnish pay television operator PlusTV in 2009, one of the people said.

Digita is Finland’s national terrestrial television operator and provides digital television services for the likes of national public broadcaster YLE.

But the company’s revenue only accounts for 6 percent of TDF’s total turnover, compared with 55 percent for its French operations and 29 percent for Germany.

Digita’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) is expected to be about 40 million euros this year, a second person said.

Earlier this year TDF agreed new terms on its 4.2 billion euros debt mountain, with an initial public offering of the group a possibility in the medium term.

No timetable for the sale of Digita has been set, a third person added.

TDF, Goldman Sachs and Teracom declined to comment. ($1 = 0.7641 euros) (Additional reporting by Sven Nordenstam in Stockholm and Marie Mawad in Paris; Editing by Victoria Howley and David Holmes)

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