Carlyle and MTU minorities take on daimlerchrysler

Carlyle is in exclusive talks with family shareholders of German diesel engine specialist MTU Friedrichshafen ahead of potential negotiations with majority shareholder DaimlerChrysler.

Carlyle has an agreement with the German Maybach and Zeppelin families, which control 12% of the company. The remaining 88% is in the hands of DaimlerChrysler – itself studied as a buyout candidate despite a €41bn market cap – although discussions with the majority owner are likely to be complicated and are at a very early stage.

Assuming a deal is done, sources estimated the eventual selling price at €1bn to €1.3bn. DaimlerChrysler CEO Jurgen Schrempp last week confirmed receipt of several non-binding offers for MTU of more than €1bn.

Carlyle has been circling the family shareholders for some time and has the option of allowing them to increase their stakes in the business as part of any deal.

DaimlerChrysler was previously talking to Man, the Munich-based truck group, which was one of the founders of MTU. Those discussions broke down after two months of talks in July because the families were reportedly opposed to a deal with Man. DaimlerChrysler this week emailed MTU workers expressing its opposition to Carlyle and its determination to stop the disposal process.

KKR is another potential private equity suitor for MTU. It tripled its money in June with the €650m IPO of MTU Aero Engines just 18 months after KKR acquired the German business from DaimlerChrysler.

Also in Germany, the board of Sud-Chemie, a listed producer of specialty chemicals and catalysts, has recommend an unsolicited takeover offer from a subsidiary of One Equity Partners, JP Morgan’s remaining private equity affiliate. The €35 per share offer values Sud-Chemie at approximately €414m.

Cable services operators iesy and Tele Columbus are merging. Sources close to the deal said the firms would combine through a cash-free stock swap that would see iesy’s major shareholder, Apollo Capital Partners, and BC Partners, the owner of Tele Columbus, take a combined 70% stake in the new company. No additional debt is being raised to finance the deal.

BC Partners acquired Tele Columbus in 2003 for US$570m. Iesy merged with its rival ish in June for US$2bn.