TDC unit sells to trade buyer

European Directories, a private equity-backed company information provider, has bought TDC Directories from Denmark’s national telecoms carrier for DKr4.85bn (US$784.7m).

The price was nearly 10x TDC Directories’ forecast 2005 Ebitda of DKr500m and was enough to see off private equity rivals including Doughty Hanson. TDC Directories had sales of DKr1.4bn and Ebitda of DKr459m in 2004.

Henning Dyremose, president and chief executive of TDC, said that the agreement marked a successful conclusion of the review of strategic options that started on June 17. “We have obtained a fair price, and TDC Directories has obtained a good new owner,” he said. “TDC Directories is a sales company focusing on advertisements and is thus not a core business to TDC.”

European Directories was formed in May after Macquarie Capital Alliance, an investment arm of the Australian bank, led two other investors in the buyout of Yellow Brick Road, the market-leading directories business in the Netherlands, Finland, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Yellow Brick also has operations in France, Gibraltar and, through a joint venture, in Poland.

Macquarie, alongside Nikko Principal Investments and Canada’s Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, paid US$2.3bn for Yellow Brick Road to 3i Group and Veronis Suhler Stevenson.

The sale comes as TDC itself faces putative bids from two private equity consortia. KKR, Blackstone, Providence, Apax and Permira have joined forces against Apollo, Silver Lake Partners, Cinven and BC Partners in a process that could result in Europe’s largest buyout.

Macquarie was reported on October 17 to be interested in buying UK pubs group Spirit for about US$5bn.