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Ukraine – music to private equity ears?

It’s a measure of the increased range of opportunities for the alternative investment industry in Ukraine that the launch last August of MTV Ukraine was made possible by Horizon Capital, a leading private equity fund manager in the country with around $300 million under management.

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Horizon, through its Emerging Europe Growth Fund, teamed up with MTV Networks International and leading Ukrainian music and video producer Yevgen Stupa to launch the channel, which broadcasts a mix of international and locally produced content to about 25% of Ukraine’s households via cable and satellite.

That the likes of Pimp My Ride and South Park, two of the MTV’s leading internationally syndicated programmes should now be available to an eager audience of Ukrainians, thanks to a private equity firm might seem surprising at first glance. However, with its 47 million-strong population, the country is increasingly on the radar screens of global media companies and media sector investors.

At the end of December, for example, another leading private equity player in Ukraine, SigmaBleyzer, scored a notable coup when it persuaded Providence Equity Partners, the world’s leading media and communications private equity firm, to invest over $200 million in Volia Cable, the leading Ukrainian cable TV and internet access provider in the country. Not only did the transaction mark the largest western private equity investment in Ukraine to date, it also highlighted the fact that global players from the alternative investment world are increasingly targeting the market.

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