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Swedish communications firm Com Hem up for sale

Swedish television and internet company Com Hem is up for sale and expected to fetch 13 billion ($1.89 billion) to 18 billion kronor, newspaper Dagens Industri (DI) reported on Friday.

Swedish communications firm Com Hem up for sale
Com Hem spokeswomen Judit & Judit at the On Demand service launch in Stockholm

Competitors Telia and Norway’s Telenor have been named as the potential buyers, the report said. Telia was Com Hem’s previous owner, but sold the unit to appease the EU in its bid to merge with Sonera in 2003.

Private equity firm EQT Partners, which is owned by the Wallenberg family-controlled Investor, bought Com Hem for 2 billion kronor and sold it to American asset management firms The Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners two years later for 10 billion kronor.

Com Hem currently has about 650 employees in Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö, Västerås and Härnösand. Other interested buyers in the company include former Danish telecommunications monopoly TDC and Swedish telecommunications operators Tele2 and 3, DI reported.

According to DI, Telia has contacted the EU anti-competition authorities to investigate the possibility of bringing Com Hem back into the fold.

Com Hem supplies triple play services that include cable and digital television, broadband, telephony and HDTV. The company now offers nearly 62 different television channels. It reaches a third of all Swedish households.

The company ranked as the television brand with the least satisfied customers in Sweden in 2007, 2008 and 2009, according to the Swedish Quality Index (Svenskt Kvalitetsindex), an independent customer survey company.

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TELEVISION

More than one in three Swedes watched Donald Duck on Christmas Eve

Donald Duck again looks set to be Sweden's biggest television event of the year, with millions of Swedes going quackers for the Christmas tradition.

More than one in three Swedes watched Donald Duck on Christmas Eve
Christmas in Sweden. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

More than one in three of Sweden's population of ten million tuned in to watch the 1950s 'From All of Us to All of You' Disney compilation, referred to in Sweden as ‘Kalle Anka' (Donald Duck) on Christmas Eve.

It was seen by 3,859,000 people when it was broadcast at 3pm, according to MMS which keeps statistics on Swedes' television viewing habits – the second-highest figure for the show in the 21st century.

That means it is on track to be the most-watched television event in Sweden in 2017.

While some way from its record audience of 4.32 million viewers in 1997, it is 125,000 more than last year and the fifth-highest figure for Kalle Anka since 1994, said MMS.

The dubbed cartoon compilation, which also features favourites such as Cinderella, Mickey Mouse and Ferdinand the Bull, has been shown in Sweden every year since 1959.

It is so popular that calls to emergency services fall by around 20 percent, something officials call “the Donald Duck effect”.

According to mobile provider Telenor, data usage on their network dropped by 29 percent during the hour when the Disney cartoon aired last Christmas.