Advent acquires MACH mobile business

Advent International has made its 75th investment in the communications sector with a E100m buyout of a European mobile telecoms clearing business.

Global private equity firm Advent International has led a E100m buyout at Multinational Automated Clearing House (MACH), a Luxembourg-based mobile and roaming clearing house and subsidiary of Millicom International Cellular.


MACH, the largest clearing house of its kind worldwide, provides outsourced roaming clearing services and billing-related outsourced services to over 240 of the 400 or so mobile operators worldwide. In addition to its Luxembourg operations, MACH also has clearing facilities in India, the US and Asia


Advent had been looking at opportunities in the mobile roaming and clearing sector for the past two years and had developed links with many of the main players. “We had already been in contact with MACH when it was announced that Lazard was conducting an auction of the business this year,” said James Brocklebank, a principal at the firm’s London office. “This allowed us to be quite aggressive with our offer because we were already aware of the company’s niche operation.” 


Financing for the acquisition has been provided by a consortium of three banks comprising Societe Generale, WestLB and Bank of Ireland.


As part of the acquisition of MACH, Advent International has brought in additional management from MACH’s European competitors. Juergen Appel and Agner Mark, both former chief executives of MACH’s two key GSM data clearing competitors (EDS Clearing House and Dan Net), will become chief executive officer and chairman respectively.


The deal takes Advent International's tally in the communications and business services sectors to 75 investments. In Europe, the firm has previously invested in the data clearing industry including Tertio (mediation and provisioning software to mobile operators, UK), Cybercity (broadband data services, Denmark), CSU CardSystem (credit card processing, Brazil) and Clearwave (GSM operations in the Czech Republic and Romania).


“We’re continuing to invest in communications and business services despite the broader downturn,” added Brocklebank. “We think it’s a good time to be involved because there has been a general retreat from the sector, increasing the level of opportunity for the right firm.”