Auna up on the block

Bidding begins on Spanish telco

MADRID — At least two private equity consortia are among bidders for part or all of Spanish telco Auna, the owner of Spain’s biggest cable TV operation, Auna TLC.

U.S. private equity firm KKR, Goldman Sachs and BC Partners have reportedly offered E12.5 billion ($15.7 billion) for the whole of Auna.

It is believed that Apax and Cinven have also 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.

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

The deadline for non-binding 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 will drum some order and a timetable into building market interest among private equity firms for Auna and Amena, as well as the four-year on-off talks between Ono and Auna for what analysts regard as the inevitable merger of their cable TV services.

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

On Monday, Ono confirmed the launch of video-on-demand services from mid-September. Patrick Stuart has ankled as director of sales and distribution at indie Goya Films to head up acquisitions for the new VOD feed.

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