French businessman plans takeover of Orange

Apax Funds has announced it is selling Orange Switzerland, the country’s third largest mobile operator, to NJJ Capital, a holding company owned by French businessman Xavier Niel for 2.8 billion francs.

French businessman plans takeover of Orange

Apax said on Thursday that the deal is expected to generate “strong returns” to its investors, coming just after the funds acquired Orange Switzerland in 2012.

The funds, advised by UK-based Apax Partners, said that in the past three years its has modernized Orange’s IT systems, launched its 4G commercial services that now reach 90 percent of the Swiss population, and expanded its retail network with eight store openings in 2014, including a flagship store in Zurich.

With 1.6 million customers, Orange Switzerland competes with second-ranked Sunrise Communications and dominant player Swisscom for the country’s mobile market.

“We have witnessed the successful transformation at Orange Switzerland under Apax’s leadership,” NJJ Capital founder Niel said.

As the new owner of Orange Switzerland, he promised his company would “provide continuity to Orange Switzerland’s customers, employees and management”.

Niel described NJJ Capital as a “long-term strategic investor, owned and operated by telecom professionals with proven track record whose goal will be to share and exchange best practices with Orange Switzerland management”.

The two parties expect the deal, subject to regulatory approval, will close at the end of the first quarter of 2015.

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