EQT in talks with CIF to buy Caiw - sources

Thursday 21 September 2017 | 09:21 CET | News

Dutch fibre service provider Caiw Holding is in takeover talks with EQT, sources have told Telecompaper. The deal would expand the Swedish private equity firm’s position in the Netherlands, after it earlier bought cable operator Delta. Caiw is owned by Dutch fibre operator CIF. 

Under the brand name Caiway, Caiw is a retail service provider operating on the networks of parent CIF. This limits its range to 320,000 homes passed. Caiway had 196,000 customers at end June. 

CIF (Communication Infrastructure Fund) invests on behalf of pension funds in telecom infrastructure. Following a series of acquisitions of smaller cable companies (starting with CAIW, which split off into Caiway), the company is focused more recently on rolling out fibre in outlying areas. CIF operates an open access model with the focus fully on passive infrastructure. Ownership of a retail service provider does not fit with that model. 

A previous attempt by CIF to sell Caiw failed after government objections. In May 2011, KPN announced an agreement with CIF for the purchase of Caiway (158,000 customers at the time). The competition authority of the time, the NMa (now part of regulator ACM), blocked the acquisition, saying it would reduce regional competition too much. KPN pulled back from the deal in April 2012.

It is unclear at what stage the talks are between Caiw and EQT. It also not known if and/or how Delta (139,000 customers) and Caiway would be integrated. Both are currently headed by former KPN executives: Marco Visser at Delta and Albert Vergeer at Caiway. EQT did not deny the report but did not give Telecompaper any further comment. CIF also declined to comment. 

EQT is an investment vehicle of Investor AB, owned by the Swedish family Wallenberg.

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