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GMT exits Asiakastieto, largest business and credit information company in Finland | April 2008


GMT Communications Partners (“GMT”), the specialist private equity group focused on the European communications sector, has agreed to sell its portfolio company Asiakastieto (“AT”) to alternative investment firm Investcorp. The disposal is the first from GMT’s Third fund, and will generate an IRR of 70% in under two years.

AT is Finland’s largest provider of business and credit information with 74% market share and 23,000 customers, including large financial institutions and telecoms operators. It primarily supplies information to banks, wholesalers and retailers in support of credit and purchasing decisions, enabling them to manage risk and credit, acquire new customers and manage customer relationships. AT is the sole owner of the most comprehensive business and credit information database in Finland.

Since GMT acquired AT in 2006 it has seen significant growth, with EBITDA increasing by 31% p.a. between 2006 and 2008 and net sales increasing by 20% p.a. over the same period. These figures are a strong indication of GMT’s successful guidance and support of AT through turbulent market conditions. Following on from GMT’s success, AT is set to continue as the clear market leader in the Finnish business and credit information market space.

The successful exit of AT demonstrates GMT’s focus on high quality portfolio companies with strong management teams, able to generate good returns through revenue growth and increased profitability. Leveraging its expertise in the communications sector enabled GMT to identify the original investment opportunity and secure the business on favourable terms, as well as to maximise the company’s potential through a strategy focused on organic growth.

GMT’s exit of AT also highlights that, despite the current investment environment, GMT are still able to achieve quality exits at good valuations. GMT’s sector competence was material to its ability to attract high calibre bidders and to complete a deal on advantageous terms and timing. AT is now in a strong position to continue developing and is well placed to build further on its market opportunities.

This was GMT’s twenty fifth deal in the communications sector. GMT is one of the few communications sector focused funds operating in the pan-European market-space and this in-depth understanding of the industry provides the expertise that generates further value to GMT’s investments. GMT will remain on the lookout for similar investment opportunities in 2008.

Rothschild advised GMT on the transaction; Weil, Gotshal & Manges provided legal advice to GMT.

Tim Green, Managing Partner GMT commented:
“Since backing AT in 2006 we have worked with the management to grow the business and improve profitability, and we are delighted with the progress the company has made. By focusing on developing its core offer and customer service, without over reliance on leverage, we have been able to achieve an excellent return in spite of tough market conditions. We wish the management every success under the company’s new ownership.”

“GMT’s sector competence allows it to identify good quality niche assets early, to develop strong relationships with management and ensure long and detailed diligence, to measure risk accurately and to complete deals on attractive terms.”

Mikko Parjanne, Managing Director, Asiakastieto commented:
“Right from the outset GMT provided excellent support for the business, offering us all the benefits of their expertise in the media and communications sectors, yet allowing the management to get on with what we do best. We’ve grown strongly in the last two years and are well set for future growth. We’re looking forward to a new chapter under Investcorp’s ownership.”

For further information please contact:
GMT: Tim Green +44 (0)20 7292 9340
Equus: Piers Hooper/ James Sumpster / Clare Simonds +44 (0)20 7223 1100

About GMT Communications Partners (www.gmtpartners.com)
GMT Communications Partners is a European independent private equity group focused exclusively on the communications sector, having actively invested in the European marketplace for the past 15 years. GMT is focused on providing buyout and expansion capital for high growth companies. As industry practitioners, GMT focuses heavily on developing new strategic directions for established businesses that are able to benefit from new communication technologies. Since its foundation in 1993, GMT has invested in 27 companies and completed over 100 transactions, exclusively in European media/communications.