Warburg Pincus and Cinven are in exclusive talks with Carlyle Group and Providence Partners to acquire Casema, the Netherlands’ third largest cable operator, in a €2.1bn deal.

Warburg Pincus and Cinven are understood to have beaten competitive offers from Macquarie Bank, of Australia, UPC Netherlands and BC Partners, a rival buyout firm, according to people close to the situation.

The deal highlights the continuing appetite of buyout firms and trade buyers for cable assets across Europe. Private equity is particularly attracted to the sector because it offers an attractive combination of growth and the capacity to pay down debt.

Both Warburg Pincus and Cinven have experience in the sector. Warburg Pincus already owns Multikabel, a rival Dutch cable operator, while Cinven and Altice, a cable operator, jointly own UPC France, acquired from Liberty Global last year.

Carlyle and Providence Partners, a rival private equity firm, jointly acquired Casema from France Telecom in January 2003 for €665m. They each own 46 per cent of Casema, while GMT Communications Partners, the independent investment firm, owns 8 per cent.

Casema supplies television, broadband and telephone services to 1.4m customers, and operates in cities including The Hague, Utrecht and Breda.

Goldman Sachs acted as adviser to Casema. Warburg Pincus was advised by Morgan Stanley, while Cinven was advised by ABN Amro.

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