Two former Virgin Media executives yesterday struck a €640m agreement to buy a Spanish telecoms firm, the maiden investment for their newly launched takeover vehicle.
Eamonn O’Hare, former chief financial officer at Virgin Media, and its ex-chief operating officer Robert Samuelson floated Zegona in March with the backing of blue chip fund mangers like Neil Woodford and Standard Life.
The vehicle, which said it would acquire companies worth between £1bn and £3bn, yesterday confirmed it had bought Telecable de Asturias from private equity firm Carlyle Group.
“It walks and talks like a small Virgin Media,” O’Hare told City A.M. “If we can achieve half of what we achieved there it will be fabulous. The business is right in the sweet spot of our experience. It gives us a fantastic base to kick on from here.”
Zegona raised a further £251m (€357m) from current investors like Fidelity. A €270m debt facility from Goldman Sachs was also used to pay the €640m alongside the £30m (€42m) raised in March’s flotation.
O’Hare said he wanted Zegona to become a “Melrose of European TMT,” referring to the FTSE 250 listed industrials group which runs a private equity style business, buying, operating and selling industrial firms for a profit.
He added that the company was in pole position to acquire more firms, given the ongoing consolidation in the telecoms sector which is likely to lead to more spin-offs.