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GMT Communications Partners Limited exits two deals, Media Publications and MobiFon, and acquires a controlling stake in Docu Group AG | August 2004

GMT Communications Partners Limited, the leading private equity investor focussed on the European communications sector, has exited two investments, Media Publications and MobiFon, and has completed a new investment in Docu Group AG.  GMT Communications Partners Limited acts as advisor to GMT Communications Partners II, L.P. (“GMT”) and Baring Communications Equity Limited (“BCEL”).

Media Publications, one of the leading independent magazine publishing companies in France, has sold 100% of its shares to Marie Claire, part of Hachette-Filipacchi which is one of Europe’s leading publishing houses.  The GMT team took a majority stake in Media Publications in 1996, through BCEL.  Following the piecemeal disposal of six non-core titles in the past three years, the remaining six core media assets (Votre Beauté, Mariages, Mariage au Carrousel, La Revue du Vin de France, Les Editions de la Revue du Vin de France and La Revue Vinicole Internationale) were sold to Marie Claire in a single transaction. 

GMT remains an active investor in France through investments in Steleus, based in Lyon, a telecommunications software company focused on “best of breed” operations support systems software solutions, and Le Marché du Travail, the leading independent French weekly jobs and recruitment publication founded in 1970.  GMT views France as one of its key markets and is actively reviewing a number of new investment opportunities.

Separately, GMT and a syndicate of other private equity funds have entered into an agreement to exit from MobiFon, the Romanian GSM cellular mobile telephone company with over 4 million subscribers, by selling their 15.5% ownership to Telesystem International Wireless Inc., which is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. Telesystem International Wireless Inc. is a current investor in MobiFon as well as its existing corporate partner.

Finally, GMT has also acquired 65% of Docu Group AG, (“Docu” or “the Company”), the leading business-to-business publishing company in the construction sector in Germany, Switzerland and Sweden.  Docu management will retain the remaining 35% and will work alongside GMT to continue to grow the Company.  Founded in 2001, the company is the result of a series of acquisitions, including Docu AG in Switzerland (founded in 1930) and Baumarktforschung Deutschland (founded in 1994).  The investment by GMT will enable the Company to continue to expand both organically and through acquisition.

Jeffrey Montgomery, a Managing Partner at GMT, said:

“Both these exits have proved successful long term investments for GMT and our investors.  We are also looking forward to helping the excellent Docu management team grow and develop their company.   Whilst equity markets were muted in the first part of 2004, European media and telecoms indices continued to outperform the U.S.  There has been buyout activity, especially in the publishing and cable-telecom sub-sectors, as well as recapitalisations of existing private equity portfolio companies.  These three transactions are examples of this activity.”

Mr. Montgomery continued, “GMT are continuing to see good quality mid-market deals and we will actively pursue those opportunities that, we believe, will provide the maximum return for our investors. It is also encouraging, from an exit perspective, to see corporate M&A activity both nationally and cross-border.”

For more information please contact:

GMT Communication Partners (U.K.)
Jeffrey Montgomery 020 7292 9333

Notes to Editors:

About GMT Communications Partners: 
GMT Communications Partners is Europe’s leading private equity specialist in the Communications sector.  The partners of GMT have worked together since founding Europe’s first Communications fund, Baring Communications Equity Limited, in 1992, and have been influential in developing many successful companies.  These include Casema (Netherlands), De Telefoongids, now YBR Group (Netherlands), EUSA (Spain), Internet Network Services (U.K.), Media Publications (France), Le Marche du Travail (France), MobiFon (Romania), Quote (Netherlands), Orion Publishing (UK), PEPcom (Germany) and Vivendi Telecom Hungary, now Invitel (Hungary).  GMT closed its latest fund of €365 million at the end of 2000, from which it is still actively investing.