Firms bid on Auna

Deadline for nonbinding offers ended Monday

MADRID — U.S. private equity firm KKR, Goldman Sachs and BC Partners have reportedly offered E12.5 billion ($15.7 billion) for Spanish telco Auna, the owner of Spain’s biggest cable TV operation, Auna TLC.

They are among two private equity consortia bidding for part or all of Auna.

Telco/media specialist Providence has teamed with Carlyle, backed by the U.S. firm Blackstone and the U.K.’s Permira, to bid for Auna’s cell phone company Amena.

It is believed that Apax and Cinven also have bid for all of Auna. Auna’s rival Ono — which, like Auna, offers fixed telephony, Internet and cable TV — has offered a reported $2.9 billion-$3.3 billion for Auna TLC.

The deadline for nonbinding offers ended Monday.

Auna has been put up for sale by its main shareholders, Spanish bank Santander Central Hispano and electricity groups Endesa and Union Fenosa.

The auction should spark market interest among private equity firms for Auna and Amena, as well as spur what analysts regard as the inevitable merger of Ono’s and Auna’s cable TV services.

An Ono-Auna combo would create a second pay TV player in Spain, beyond Sogecable, with 850,000 clients.

Ono will launch video-on-demand services in mid-September. Patrick Stuart has ankled as director of sales and distribution at indie Goya Films to head up acquisitions for the VOD venture.

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