3i / VSS sell YBR Group for 1,825 million

16 May 2005

3i plc ("3i") and Veronis Suhler Stevenson ("VSS") have agreed to sell YBR Group ("YBR"), a leading European directory services provider, for EUR1,825 million to a consortium led by Macquarie Capital Alliance Group and including Macquarie Bank Limited, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Nikko Principal Investments Limited.

YBR, created in March 2004 through the three-way merger of De Telefoongids, Fonecta and Mediatel, is a leading directory and search company. With fully owned, market leading operations currently spanning five European countries, as well as a presence in additional markets, YBR is one of the fastest growing directory and search companies in Europe, operating in printed directories, online and mobile search and directory assistance.

Under the ownership of 3i and VSS, YBR's management team has successfully grown the business, both organically and through acquisitions, and has begun to realise the benefits arising from the combination of the company's regional businesses and the sharing of best practices.

Crevan O'Grady, at 3i, commented: "Creating such a unique and valuable business over the last few years would not have been possible without a great management team, the shareholder's media expertise and our international network. We wish the management and Macquarie well in taking the business forward to its next level of growth."

Marco Sodi, at VSS, says: "We have invested in and carried out an extensive development programme for YBR including a total of 24 transactions. That work is now completed and it is time for management and a new owner to lead the company through the next phase. We are convinced that Macquarie is very well placed to work with YBR's management to fully exploit the company's significant future growth potential."

Goldman Sachs International and UBS Investment Bank acted as joint financial advisers to 3i, VSS and the Company in relation to the sale of YBR. Goldman Sachs International and Lehman Brothers advised in relation to the staple-on financing.

Notes to editors

About YBR Group
YBR Group is a pan-European directories services company, operating in printed directories, online and mobile searches and directory assistance in the Netherlands, Finland, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  The company was created in 2004 through the merger of De Telefoongids, Fonecta and Mediatel and has leading market positions with strong regional brands. YBR Group has a strong historic track record of growth, and expects to continue growth both organically and through acquisitions.

About 3i
3i invests in a wide range of opportunities from start-ups to buy-outs and buy-ins, focusing on businesses with high growth potential and strong management. It invests in businesses across three continents through local investment teams in Europe, Asia Pacific and the USA. To date, 3i has invested over £15 billion (including co-investment funds). 3i has been very active in the media-publishing sector. Recent acquisitions include Crown Media inc's international TV assets Trinity Mirror's Northern Irish newspapers and Boxer TV in Scandinavia. We have also had a successful run of recent realisations including the IPO of Pinewood Studios and the sales of Malmberg, MORI and Butler Group.

About Veronis Suhler Stevenson 
Veronis Suhler Stevenson is a private equity and mezzanine capital fund management company dedicated to investing in the media, communications and information industries in North America and Europe. Since 1987, VSS has managed over $2 billion in committed capital across four private equity funds and a mezzanine debt fund, all focused exclusively on the media, communications and information industries. VSS provides capital for buyouts, recapitalizations, growth financings and strategic acquisitions to companies and management teams with a goal to build companies both organically and through a focused add-on acquisition program. To date, VSS equity funds have invested in 34 platform companies, which have in turn completed over 185 add-on acquisitions resulting in a portfolio with realized and unrealized enterprise values totaling approximately $7.5 billion. The VSS investment team is comprised of professionals who possess a unique combination of media operating experience as well as media-focused financial transaction expertise.  VSS professionals are capable of providing a combination of strategic operational insight, relevant industry contacts and sophisticated financial advice to portfolio companies over the entire life cycle of an investment. Other current Investments include, ITE Plc, Xtreme Information, Pepcom, Hanley-Wood, Ascend Media, Facts On File and Hemscott.  For additional information: (www.vss.com).