January 12, 2015 / 8:05 AM / 5 years ago

MBK, Macquarie launch plan to sell S.Korean pay-TV firm for up to $2.9 bln-sources

SEOUL, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Asian private equity firm MBK Partners and Australian bank Macquarie Group have launched plans to sell jointly owned South Korean cable TV operator C&M Inc in a deal they hope could be worth up to $2.9 billion, people briefed on the matter said on Monday.

Letters have been sent to other Korean cable TV firms encouraging them to bid for the country’s fifth-biggest pay-TV operator by subscriber numbers, one person said, declining to be identified as the sale process was private. Buying C&M would secure a No.2 position behind industry leader KT Corp for at least four local competitors in the country’s fragmented pay-TV market.

MBK and Macquarie first jointly acquired more than a 90 percent stake in C&M in 2008, paying around 2.1 trillion won ($1.94 billion). C&M made 660 billion won in revenue in 2013.

The people familiar with the matter said the sellers expect the business to fetch about 8-10 times its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), the multiple range for valuations in the cable TV industry globally.

C&M’s EBITDA in 2013 was 310 billion won, giving a targeted price tag range of 2.48 trillion won to 3.1 trillion won. C&M had 2.4 million subscribers as of September 2014.

Goldman Sachs is advising MBK and Macquarie on the sale.

A media representative for MBK declined comment. Macquarie did not have an immediate comment. A spokesman for C&M could not be immediately reached.

$1 = 1,080.6900 won Reporting by Joyce Lee

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