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Exits

Money manager Aletheia Research and Management Inc., the third-largest shareholder in Barnes & Noble, has cut its stake in the bookseller just weeks after Liberty Media Corp. offered to buy the company, Reuters reported. According to filings with the S.E.C., Aletheia held an 8.65 percent stake on June 1, down from a 10.59 percent stake in April. Liberty Media offered in May to pay $17 a share for Barnes & Noble, or roughly $1 billion.

Auto and mortgage lender Ally Financial, which is majority-owned by the U.S. government, has delayed its $6 billion initial public offering due to bad market conditions, Reuters reported. In addition to the Treasury, buyout shop Cerberus Capital Management owns a 9 percent stake. Citi, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Barclays Capital and Deutsche Bank Securities are the underwriters for the offering.

Astorg Partners will sell French call-center business Webhelp to buyout firm Charterhouse, Reuters reported, adding that Charterhouse had secured a €165 million ($238 million) loan to help fund the deal. The loan was arranged by Bank of Ireland and Citigroup, Reuters reported. Astorg bought a controlling stake in Webhelp in June 2007 from Barclays Private Equity, which remained a minority shareholder in the business.

Audax Group has sold portfolio company Northern Digital Inc. to strategic buyer Roper Industries. Terms of the deal, which closed June 3, were not released. Harris Williams & Co., which announced the deal, acted as an adviser to Waterloo, Ontario-based Northern Digital. Audax focuses on small cap and lower mid-market investments. Audax manages more than $4.5 billion of equity, mezzanine debt and senior loan capital.

Avaya Holdings Corp., a telecom equipment maker backed by Silver Lake Partners and TPG Capital, has filed to raise up to $1 billion in an initial public offering, Reuters reported. Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Avaya was taken private by the two private equity firms in 2007 for just more than $8 billion.

AXA Private Equity is paying $1.7 billion for a portfolio of private equity assets owned by Citigroup. The deal is the latest move by Citigroup to unload non-core assets. The portfolio includes 207 limited partnership interests in buyout funds, as well as investments that were made directly into certain companies, the bank said. For Axa, the deal follows a recently strategy of snapping up private equity assets from other investors. Axa paid $1.9 billion to acquire private equity funds from Bank of America in April 2010.

Bain Capital is looking to sell microconnections division of French electrical connectors maker FCI in a deal worth up to $1 billion, Reuters reported. Buyout firms Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, TPG Capital and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. are among those who may be approached to buy the business, Reuters said.

Personal finance web site Bankrate is planning to raise $320 million from its upcoming initial public offering, Reuters reported. The company said it would sell 12.5 million shares at a price of $14 to $16 per share. The company filed in April for an IPO of up to $500 million. Bankrate was acquired by Ben Holding S.a.r.l. through a fund affiliated with a private equity firm Apax Partners LP in 2009, Reuters wrote.

Billionaire Nicolas Berggruen’s Justice Holdings may make a £1 billion ($1.65 billion) offer for breakfast cereal company Weetabix, Reuters reported, citing a story in the Sunday Times. UK-based Weetabix is owned by Lion Capital, which bought it for £642 million in 2003, Reuters wrote.

CVC Capital Partners portfolio company Samsonite narrowed the price range for its IPO to HK$14.50 to HK$15.50 per share, from HK$13.5 to HK$17.5 previously, Reuters reported. Samsonite plans to sell 671 million shares, putting its IPO size as high as HK$10.4 billion ($1.3 billion), compared with up to HK$11.7 billion ($1.5 billion) before. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc and Morgan Stanley are managing the offering.

Media agency network Dentsu has acquired digital marketing services company Steak Group from Farmington Hills, Mich.-based investment firm Beringea. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Beringea invested in Steak through its London office in 2007 and 2010, the firm said in a written release.

EQT has sold Cimbria to private equity fund Axcel, exiting the company, a maker of equipment for handling and processing of grain and seed, four years after it bought it. Financial terms of the deal were not released. The acquisition is expected to close in August. EQT Opportunity took a majority stake in Cimbria in 2007.

Eurazeo will pay €418 million ($610 million) for a 45 percent stake in luxury clothing company Moncler, Reuters reported. Remo Ruffini, Moncler chairman and creative director, will keep a 32 percent stake in the company, and U.S. private equity firm The Carlyle Group will retain a 17.8 percent stake, Reuters reported.

Navigation system maker Garmin is in talks to buy smaller German rival Navigon for roughly €50 million ($72 million), Reuters reported, citing a story in the Financial Times Deutschland. Buyout shop General Atlantic Partners owns 90 percent of Navigon.

Jones Group Inc. has acquired upscale British shoe retailer Kurt Geiger from buyout shop Graphite Capital, Reuters reported. The deal is valued at about $350 million, including assumption of debt, Reuters said.

The Jordan Company, through its Resolute Fund II LP, said t would buy Pro Mach Inc. from Odyssey Investment Partners. Financial terms of the deal were not released. Pro Mach provides packaging machinery products and services to multinational clients in the food, beverage, household goods and pharmaceutical industries. Barclays Capital is arranging debt financing for the transaction, and Mayer Brown is legal adviser to The Jordan Company. Barclays Capital is acting as financial adviser to Pro Mach and Latham & Watkins is acting as legal adviser.

Marathon Oil Corp. will pay $3.5 billion to buy oil and gas properties in Texas’s Eagle Ford shale field from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Hilcorp Resources Holdings, Reuters reported. KKR’s stake is now valued at $1.13 billion, nearly triple the $400 million the firm invested in Hilcorp a year ago.

British buyout firm Melrose will sell Dynacast for $590 million to a company managed by private equity firm Kenner & Co. Inc., Reuters reported. Melrose bought Dynacast, which makes die-cast metal parts for the automotive and telecom industries, from buyout shop Cinven in 2005.

Nautic Partners and Pamlico Capital said that their sale of MACTEC will yield a return of 2.7x their investment. This includes prior distributions, the firms said. In May, AMEC said it had bought MACTEC, an engineering and environmental services company based in Alpharetta, Ga., for $280 million.

NBC Universal will pay about $1.025 billion to buy out The Blackstone Group’s 50 percent stake in Universal Orlando, the company announced. The deal values the theme parks transaction at about $3.165 billion, including debt. Blackstone invested roughly $275 million to $300 million in the company since July 2000, Reuters said, which puts its return at about three times its investment. The deal is expected to close on July 1.

Nordic Capital is planning to exit its investment in payment processing business Point International, Reuters reported. The firm hired JP Morgan to manage a sale. The company could fetch as much as €300 million ($434 million), Reuters estimated.

Oaktree Capital has nixed plans to sell European alcohol producer Stock Spirits, Reuters reported. The firm had reportedly examined several options for an exit, including a $513 million float of the company’s stock. Stock Spirits makes a number of alcohol brands, including Polish vodka Czysta de Luxe and Czech plum brandy.

PineBridge Investments has sold its minority stake in Central European transportation and logistics company Waberer’s Group. Terms of the deal were not released. PineBridge manages $81 billion in assets for institutional and individual clients across listed equity, fixed income, private equity and hedge fund strategies.

Schneider Electric SA will pay $650 million to acquire China’s Leader & Harvest Technologies Holdings Ltd, Reuters reported. The deal provides a strong exit for owners Affinity Equity Partners and Unitas Capital, which are pulling in more than 3x their initial, $200 million investment, made in 2009.

Publicly traded Sealed Air Corp. is buying Diversey Holdings Inc. in a deal valued at $4.3 billion. Diversey Holdings sells products to the cleaning and sanitization market, and is backed by Clayton Dubilier & Rice. Under the terms of the deal, Diversey shareholders will receive $2.1 billion in cash and an aggregate of 31.7 million shares of Sealed Air common stock.

Thoma Bravo has sold Portage, Mich.-based Manatron, which makes tax automation and land registry software, to the information conglomerate (and Buyouts publisher) Thomson Reuters. Financial terms were not disclosed. Thoma Bravo, which has offices in Chicago and San Francisco, acquired Manatron through a take-private transaction in 2008 and has led six acquisitions for the company since.

Buyout firm Triton has put German chemicals and steel logistics services firm Lehnkering up for sale, hiring Rothschild to manage the process, Reuters reported. Triton bought the business, provides storage and shipping for the chemicals and steel industries, in 2004.