EU competition law takeovers

Arsys Group

Private equity backer (s): Carlyle and Mercapital

Business description: Web hosting

Deal value: €160m

Notified: 21/12/07

Provisional deadline: 06/02/08

Cleared: n/a

Spanish buyouts house Mercapital and US powerhouse Carlyle are to buy Arsys Internet, a Spanish provider of domain name registration and web hosting services, for €160m. Carlyle said in a statement that the two groups will invest equal amounts in Arsys, while the founders of the company will retain a minority stake.

Arsys has more than 550,000 domains registered, 170,000 clients, 250 employees and commercial activity in Spain, France and Portugal and provides services to companies located in over 100 different countries. For 2007, Arsys expects revenues of over €40m.

AS Lathouwers

Private equity backer (s): Lion Capital

Business description: Outdoor goods retailer

Deal value: €215m

Notified: 21/11/07

Provisional deadline: n/a

Cleared: 07/01/08

The European Commission has approved the purchase of AS Lathouwers, the Belgian headquartered owner of outdoor clothing and equipment retailers, by UK private equity firm Lion Capital from Mitiska in a €263m deal.

The company is a specialty retailer of branded outdoor products, operating 56 stores across Belgium (AS Adventure) and the UK (Cotswold Outdoor), and with the recent acquisition of the Dutch company Bever Zwerfsport, another 29 sales outlets in the Netherlands. The company’s product offering includes biking, trekking, climbing, skiing and camping accessories and casual outdoor clothing. The company has enjoyed an impressive track record of growth since its inception in 1995, with net sales having grown to €205m in 2007.


Private equity backer (s): Cinven

Business description: Service management

Deal value: €540m

Notified: 14/11/07

Provisional deadline: n/a

Cleared: 19/12/07

The European Commission has approved the sale of Swedish services outsourcing business Coor to UK private equity firm 3i Cinven by rival buyout house 3i in a €540m deal. Coor offers a wide variety of services, from running staff canteens and instrument calibration, to leasing administration, technical safety solutions and optimization of premises. It employs around 3,700 people in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Belgium. In the year to December 2006, Coor delivered net sales of SEK3,972m (€430m). Both sales and profits are expected to continue to grow strongly in the future. It was previously part of Skanska before 3i acquired it in December 2004 for approximately €129m.

Firth Rixson

Private equity backer (s): Oak Hill Capital Management

Business description: Forged products maker

Deal value: £945m

Notified: 13/11/07

Provisional deadline: n/a

Cleared: 11/12/07

The European Commission has approved the acquisition of Forgings International, which wholly controls Firth Rixson, by US private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Management from rival LBO houses The Carlyle Group and Lehman Brothers. The transaction was reviewed under the EU’s simplified merger review procedure for cases which the commission believes are unlikely to pose competition concerns.

Firth Rixson has 11 manufacturing sites in both countries and Hungary and China, and generated an annual revenue last year of approximately £500m. Carlyle invested in Firth in February 2003 when it delisted Firth Rixson plc from the London Stock Exchange. Lehman Brothers’ invested September 2006.


Private equity backer (s): 3i

Business description: Maker of gardening equipment

Deal value: €730m

Notified: 31/10/07

Provisional deadline: n/a

Cleared: 05/12/07

The European Commission has approved the acquisition of Global Garden Products, an Italian manufacturer of lawn mowers and and powered garden equipment, by 3i from AAC Capital Partners for €730m. GGP’s management team, led by CEO Pierluigi Tosato, will remain in place and reinvest alongside 3i.

GGP makes and distributes walk-behind and ride-on lawnmowers alongside hand-held gardening equipment and accessories, operating through brand such as Stiga, Castelgarden and Mountfield. It produces private label products for the garden and DIY centres throughout Europe, and makes products for equipment manufacturers like Honda.


Private equity backer (s): Carlyle

Business description: Speciality chemicals producer

Deal value: Undisclosed

Notified: 16/11/07

Provisional deadline: n/a

Cleared: 20/12/07

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed joint venture between the UK company INEOS Silicas Limited (IS), belonging to the INEOS Group and the US company PQ Corporation (PQ), belonging to the Carlyle Group. Both companies produce speciality chemicals. The Commission concluded that the concentration would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it. IS and PQ are manufacturers of inorganic speciality chemicals, including silicates and silicas, used principally in the production of detergents, in the production of pulp/paper and as a feedstock for derivative chemical products for a wide range of industrial and beverage applications.


Private equity backer (s): CVC Capital Partners

Business description: Fruit producer and supplier

Deal value: Undisclosed

Notified: 04/01/08

Provisional deadline: 08/02/08

Cleared: n/a

De Weide Blik, a portfolio company of British private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, is to buy Katope International.De Weide Blik is a Belgian group active in the production, import, export packaging, handling and logistics of fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, flower bulbs, plants and meals. It operates under umbrella name of Univeg. Its main activities are concentrated in the Benelux region.

Katopé is active in the production, import, export, packing and distribution of exotic, citrus and off-season fruits as well as, to a lesser extent, vegetables. In Europe, the UK and France are by far its two most important sales areas.


Private equity backer (s): KKR

Business description: Software developer

Deal value: £593m

Notified: 11//01/08

Provisional deadline: 15/02/08

Cleared: n/a

KKR is to buy Northgate Information Solutions for 95p per share, valuing the company at £593m. Northgate provides specialist software, outsourcing and IT services to the human resources, local government, education and public safety markets. Northgate, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, currently employs over 6,000 staff and operates in 46 countries across 5 continents.

In the UK, the company works with four out of five local authorities and every police force. Northgate supports public service transformation through sustainable performance partnerships. Its technology is used in the administration of more than £12bin of revenues and benefits and in electoral administration systems covering 18 million people.

Paidi Moebel

Private equity backer (s): DZ Equity Partner

Business description: Childrens’ furniture producer

Deal value: Undisclosed

Notified: 12/11/07

Provisional deadline: n/a

Cleared: 12/12/07

The European Commission has approved the acquisition of Paidi Moebel, a German producer of children’s furniture, by German private equity firm DZ Equity Partner and Welle Holdings. The transaction was reviewed under the EU’s simplified merger review procedure for cases which the commission believes are unlikely to pose competition concerns.

Paidi Moebel operates in both Germany and Poland, and generated a €42m turnover in 2006. Welle is a family owned company that makes kitchens and children’s furniture, and was, prior to this deal, the largest shareholder in Paidi. It will retain shares in the business following the DZ led LBO.


Private equity backer (s): Triton

Business description: Tar chemicals

Deal value: Undisclosed

Notified: 20/12/07

Provisional deadline: 22/02/08

Cleared: n/a

German buyouts firm Triton Partners is to buy Ruetgers, the tar chemicals unit of Evonik Industries. Evonik, formerly known as RAG, said in a statement at the end of last year that the sale will allow its Degussa division to focus on its main business of specialty chemicals.

Ruetgers Chemicals is looking to achieve sales of around €700m for the last financial year, and supplies of tar chemicals to the aluminium and steel industries. It employs about 950 staff and has an EBITA of €60m on sales of €650m in 2006. Evonik plans to float the chemicals, energy and real estate businesses next year.


Private equity backer (s): EQT

Business description:

Deal value: Infrastructure services provider

Notified: 09/01/08

Provisional deadline: 13/02/08

Cleared: n/a

EQT is to acquire SAG, a German provider of energy-related infrastructure services to utilities, from US-based buyouts firm Advent International. Advent bought SAG in May 2006 with the takeover of RWE Solutions AG from RWE AG. The debt financing for the transaction will be provided by Commerzbank Corporates & Markets, The Royal Bank of Scotland, BNP Paribas and Intermediate Capital Group.

SAG provides build and maintenance outsourcing services for utilities in their transmission and distribution grids. With its 5,900 employees the company generates cumulative revenues of approximately €770m. SAG is the German market leader and has international subsidiaries in France, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

Securitas Direct

Private equity backer (s): EQT

Business description: Security services provider

Deal value: Undisclosed

Notified: 17/12/07

Provisional deadline: 31/01/08

Cleared: n/a

Nordic buyouts house EQT is to acquire Swedish security services provider Securitas Direct pending EU approval. Securitas’ board of directors have recommended it’s shareholders reject the offer of SKR24 per share by ESML Intressenter, a subsidiary of EQT V, SakI, Melker Schoerling, and Investment Latour.

The total offer is worth US$1.5bn Saki, MSAB and Latour already own a total of 15.5% of the capital and 40.5% of the votes in Securitas Direct and would transfer their stakes to ESML Intressenter if the offer is completed. Latour is the largest shareholder in Securitas Direct with 7.5% of the capital.