Quentin's Feed
Jul 26, 2010

Lion to buy Picard in biggest French LBO since 2008

LONDON (Reuters) – BC Partners agreed to sell French frozen-food firm Picard Surgeles to rival Lion Capital, highlighting the keen appetite of private equity firms to strike deals in the recession-resilient food industry.

The sale of Picard, which has thrived by persuading France’s fastidious consumers that convenience food can be high-quality, is the country’s biggest leveraged buyout (LBO) since the September 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Jul 23, 2010

Advent-Bain near purchase of RBS WorldPay: sources

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Bank of Scotland is in exclusive talks with Advent International and Bain Capital over the sale of its payment-processing unit WorldPay, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The private equity duo have about a week’s exclusivity to finalize a deal for the business, which handles about half of all face-to-face debit and credit card transactions in Britain, one of the people said.

Jul 23, 2010

Condoms, car parts, oilfields spice up UK M&A

LONDON (Reuters) – A string of takeovers has enlivened Britain’s near-moribund mergers and acquisitions (M&A) landscape this week, highlighting pent-up demand for deals among cash-rich corporations and private equity firms.

The timing of such a flurry of activity masks months of work behind the scenes or represents a rush to conclude transactions before the August lull, but it supports the argument made by analysts at JPMorgan Cazenove, Morgan Stanley, Standard & Poor’s, UBS and others, that many of the conditions are in place for a revival in European M&A.

Jul 22, 2010

ISS owners eyeing IPO or sale: sources

LONDON (Reuters) – The owners of Danish cleaning firm ISS ISSHG.UL have revived plans for a multi-billion euro flotation, asking banks to pitch for roles helping to list or sell the company, three people familiar with the matter said.

ISS is the latest amongst a number of big European companies owned by private equity firms that are gearing up to change hands or return to public markets, as their owners seek to profit from long-held investments.

Jul 22, 2010

Icelandic tycoon strikes debt deal with Deutsche

LONDON, July 22 (Reuters) – Icelandic drugmaker Actavis and
owner Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson have agreed a refinancing
deal with lenders led by Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to slash its
billions of euros in debt and restructure the tycoon’s personal

The agreement, struck after more than a year of talks, moves
Deutsche closer to solving the headache posed by its largest
block of risky loans held over from pre-credit crisis days.

Jul 22, 2010

Exclusive: ISS owners eyeing IPO or sale, sources say

LONDON (Reuters) – The owners of Danish cleaning firm ISS have revived plans for a multi-billion euro flotation, asking banks to pitch for roles helping to list or sell the company, three people familiar with the matter said.

The owners — Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Swedish private equity fund EQT Partners — are seeking to start a dual-track process toward an initial public offering (IPO) or sale later this year, the sources said.

Jul 15, 2010

Field narrows for Bain’s TeamSystem -sources

LONDON, July 15 (Reuters) – Private equity firm Advent
International is out of the race for Italian software firm
TeamSystem, sources familiar with the situation said, leaving a
narrowing field of buyout bidders facing off against trade rival
Sage (SGE.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Advent, Cinven [CINV.UL] and HG Capital had all submitted
indicative bids for TeamSystem, being sold by rival buyout firm
Bain Capital. Second round bids are due towards the end of the
month. [ID:nLDE6671KR]

Jul 9, 2010

Is private equity ready to get hands dirty again?

LONDON (Reuters) – Post-Lehman, European private equity has all but ignored the grimier end of life: the widget-makers, chemicals plants and facilities scrubbers that used to be mainstays of the buyout business.

But that may be about to change.

Debt for new deals has become less scarce and a bit cheaper. Industrial demand has staged a big recovery. And some funds are itching to take profits by offloading long-held portfolio firms, either to each other or public markets.

Jul 8, 2010

Buyout firms face Sage in TeamSystem bid: sources

LONDON (Reuters) – A clutch of buyout firms are lining up against business software provider Sage as they vie to buy Italy’s TeamSystem from Bain Capital, sources familiar with the situation said.

Advent International, Cinven and HG Capital are all into the second round of the auction process, sources said.

Jul 7, 2010

Deutsche nears Actavis debt deal -sources

LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) – Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) is close to a deal with the Icelandic tycoon who owns generic drugmaker Actavis, to slash its crippling multi-billion-euro debt load, sources familiar with the matter said. Any agreement would move the bank closer to resolving a problem that has dogged it since 2007, when it financed Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson’s 4.7 billion euro ($6.3 billion) leveraged buyout (LBO) of Actavis, one of the world’s biggest makers of copycat drugs.

The debt represents Deutsche’s largest block of risky loans held over from pre-credit crisis days. It has ballooned because some of it is in “payment-in-kind” notes that grow in size rather than pay interest.

    • About Quentin

      "Quentin Webb is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist, covering mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and private equity. He is based in London. Before becoming a columnist, he was a news reporter for Reuters, where he was most recently European M&A correspondent. He has also worked as a correspondent in Brussels and as a credit-markets reporter. He joined Reuters in 2003 from Legalease, a legal publisher. He has a first-class degree in psychology from University College London."
    • Follow Quentin