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EMP Europe takes majority in Czech cable TV leader Karneval

19 April 2005

EMP Europe, the leading private equity firm focused on Central Europe, announces completion of the acquisition of an additional 50.7% stake in Karneval Media s.r.o.. Together with the 31.7% stake already controlled by its AIG Emerging Europe Infrastructure Fund since August 2002, EMP Europe will now own 82.4% of the largest independent Czech cable TV operator.

Karneval, created following the acquisition and integration of ICZ by TES Media, has an analog video market share in the Czech Republic of approximately 40%. In addition to serving 254,000 CATV customers, Karneval has recently accelerated the roll-out of broadband Internet services with total upgraded homes now at 363,000 and Internet subscribers recently reaching 20,000.

Commenting on the transaction, Robert H. Gardner, CEO of Karneval said that management is happy to continue the excellent cooperation with EMP Europe. "We have benefited from their knowledge of the sector and the region and their active involvement in our business."

Craig Butcher, Partner of EMP Europe added that the firm is pleased to be able to support Karneval's further growth through the expansion of its broadband Internet offering. "Due to our confidence in the potential of the Czech market, we also plan to fund the introduction of new services, such as telephony and digital video, in order to expand our customer offering and enhance the value of the business. At the same time we maintain the capacity to explore selective acquisition opportunities."

Founded in 1999, EMP Europe has now made gross commitments of USD 500 million to 11 portfolio companies in nine Central and Eastern European countries. The team of eleven professionals operates from offices in Budapest, London and Warsaw and focuses on investments in mature, cash-flow generative companies enjoying market dominance in sectors with high barriers to entry. Including the recent announcements of the exits from MobiFon and Oskar, EMP Europe has to date achieved five full exits, two partial exits, and three leveraged recapitalizations from the current AIG Emerging Europe Infrastructure Fund for an aggregate return of more than USD 635 million to investors.

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