Financing in brief top news

The debt package backing the €8.7bn take private of Dutch media company VNU is progressing well in syndication through mandated lead arrangers ABN AMRO, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, ING and Lehman Brothers.

Citigroup is leading the loan portion of the deal while Deutsche Bank is the lead for the bond portion.

Valcon Acquisition is the sponsor which is a seven-strong private equity consortium comprising AlpInvest Partners, the Blackstone Group, the Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Permira and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The deal comprises a dollar tranche: US$4.7125bn seven year B loan paying 250bp and a US687.5m revolver paying 225bp; and a euro tranche: a €380m seven-year B loan paying 250bp. VNU is one of the largest media conglomerates which owns ACNielsen, Nielsen Media Research and a portfolio of trade titles including Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter.

  • Five banks are lined up to arrange a debt package totaling just under €4bn to back the LBO of the combined Dutch cable assets of Casema, Multikabel and Essent Kabelcom.

ABN AMRO, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, ING and Morgan Stanley will lead the deal, which is likely to include loan and bond elements. Cinven and Warburg Pincus paved the way for the three-way tie-up last week agreeing to acquire Essent Kabelcom, the second largest Dutch cable operator, from the Dutch energy group Essent for €2.6bn.

The agreement follows a bidding contest with US media investor Liberty Global Media, which had previously agreed to sell parts of its UPC European cable business to Cinven.

The sponsor duo acquired Casema and Multikabel, the third and fourth largest players in the Dutch market, last month. Together Kabelcom, Casema and Multikabel will serve over 3.3 million customers and have pro forma revenue of approximately €870m for the financial year ended 31 December 2005.

  • Senior syndication of the €960m loan backing PAI Partners’ LBO of engineering group AMEC SPIE has wrapped up, via co-ordinating bookrunner SG and bookrunner BNP Paribas. ABN AMRO, ING and Natexis Banques Populaires joined as joint lead arrangers. Debt is split between an €810m senior facility, a €50m second lien tranche and €100m in mezzanine debt. General syndication will launch in September.