Mid Europa Partners has been a key player in CEE’s TV industry for a number of years.
A leading independent private equity firm focused on the region, its past assets have included the Czech cable operator Karneval, since acquired by Liberty Global, and the Hungarian alternative telco Invitel, now owned by HTCC.
Although Mid Europa currently has an important presence in Poland through 100% ownership of Aster, the country’s fourth largest cable operator, it is its activities further south that are attracting the most attention.
Just this week, for instance, it completed the acquisition of UPC Slovenia from Liberty Global for an unspecified fee. Interestingly, it was a case of back to the future, Mid Europa having previously bought Telemach, the company that went on to become UPC Slovenia, in 2000 before selling it to UnitedGlobalCom (UGC) in December 2004.
Mid Europa is already firmly established in nearby Serbia, where it has, through a consortium of investors, held a 100% stake in Serbia Broadband (SBB) since June 2007.
SBB is itself an increasingly important player, not just in its home market as the largest cable operator and ISP but also further afield through its DTH platform Total TV.
The latter has plugged a rare gap in what is an otherwise saturated CEE DTH sector, offering satellite services to viewers in Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia. As a result, it is now a de facto pan-former Yugoslavia DTH platform.
In Slovenia, SBB’s head Dragan Solak will now also be put in charge of Liberty Global’s former operations, essentially UPC Telemach, UPC Ljubljanski Kabel and UPC Rotovz.
It is probably also fair to assume that Total TV will now be more fully integrated into those operations, reflecting its position with SBB in Serbia.
All in all, Mid Europa, though its growing portfolio of assets, looks well on track to become one of the leading providers of pay-TV services in the countries of the former Yugoslavia.