Welcome to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council

Journal Staff and Wire Reports, Providence Journal Providence, Rhode Island, Tuesday, December 4, 2007

PROVIDENCE - Providence-based Providence Equity Partners is making the largest Western private investment in Ukraine, demonstrating the interest of Western investors in Eastern European companies.

Providence Equity, the firm run by Brown University graduate Jonathan M.
Nelson, is putting more than $200 million into Volia Cable, the leading Ukrainian cable TV and Internet access provider. Volia is controlled by UGF III, a SigmaBleyzer-managed private equity fund. The transaction is expected to close this month.

"This is our seventh significant investment in this sector in Europe and our second in Eastern Europe, which is experiencing increasing demand for sophisticated television and broadband services," said Nelson, chief executive officer, in a statement.

John Hahn, a managing director of Providence Equity and head of the firm's office in Europe, said, "We have extensive holdings in cable businesses across Western Europe and are excited about the opportunity to marry that expertise with the great business that SigmaBleyzer and the Volia management teams have built."

Volia Cable is the number-one cable TV and broadband Internet provider in Ukraine, with a network that connects more than 900,000 homes in four
cities: Kiev, L'viv, Alchevsk and Chernivtsy.

Volia Cable was initially created through the consolidation of three separate companies acquired in 1999 and 2000. Since acquisition, Volia has integrated the activities of the original cable operators, yielding significant cost savings by streamlining activities and eliminating redundant departments and equipment.

Several separate cable networks in Kiev were consolidated, allowing the company to manage all of its services and distribute its signal from one location. This approach significantly reduced the cost of providing services and gives the company a competitive advantage.

Michael Bleyzer, president and CEO of SigmaBleyzer, said. "This is a natural step forward for Volia Cable, SigmaBleyzer and Volia Cable's other shareholders. SigmaBleyzer will continue to play an active role in the Ukrainian cable sector, and we look forward to Providence's support as we continue to grow Volia Cable as the leading cable and broadband provider in Ukraine.

"It is also our belief that attracting the highest quality global investors like Providence will have a positive effect on the Ukrainian economy and investment climate and will further promote Ukraine as an important investment destination."

Goldman Sachs International and UBS Investment Bank acted as financial advisors to SigmaBleyzer. Lazard acted as financial advisors to Providence Equity.

Providence Equity Partners specializes in equity investments in media, entertainment, communications and information companies around the world and manages about $21 billion in equity commitments