Exit for Argus

Argus Capital Partners, a Central and Eastern European private equity fund, has sold its 21% stake in Aster City Cable, a Polish cable television and broadband operators, to Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst for an undisclosed amount.

The sale represents a money multiple of approximately three times for ARGUS and generates an internal rate of return (IRR) of almost 90%.

The divestment comes ahead of an expected fund raising for its second Central European fund, which is believed to have a target of €200m.

Argus invested in Aster City Cable in March 2003 when it acquired the business from Elektrim Telekomunikacja, along with AIG Emerging Europe Infrastructure Fund and Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, for a total €110m. AIG, which took a 39% stake, sold its share to Hicks Muse in November and is reported to have made a 3x return.

Argus held a final closing of its first Central European private equity fund in September 2000 at around €130m. The fund attracted commitments from 10 institutional investors from North America, Western Europe, the Middle East and Far East. It has invested in 10 companies so far.

SJ Berwin advised Argus and Weil Gotshal Manges acted for Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst.