in brief

• Edmund Truell has confirmed that Vision Capital will buy 75% of off licence chain Threshers together with the whole of BrightHouse, the retailer of home appliances and furnishings which emerged out of TV rental business Thorn. Truell led the consortium of financial investors that bought these businesses, as well as the £1.2bn Thorn pension scheme and hotel digital TV provider Quadriga, from Terra Firma within the last few weeks. The consortium will receive over £250m for these assets and retain 25% of Threshers, principally so that Truell’s Pensions Insurance Corporation (PIC) offer services to the Threshers pension fund. £32m cash has been put in escrow to address the “significant deficit” it has.

3i, the UK private equity firm, has agreed to acquire Eltel Networks from Swedish private equity firm Industri Kapital 2000 Fund and Telefos. Eltel provides construction and maintenance services for telecommunications and electricity networks in Europe. In 2006, its turnover was € 756m and it has 8200 employees primarily in the Nordics, Baltics and Poland.

Cerberus has acquired Apax and Duke Street owned DIY business Focus. The deal comes after a strategic review of the business headed by Rothschild. The review centered on the company’s senior debt covenants and financing structure and involved its senior lenders as well as a committee of mezzanine note holders and shareholders. Cerberus will pay a nominal fee for the company’s equity, while paying off its £174m debts. It will also pay its mezzanine bondholders 40p for every £1 they hold, coming to £40m. Meanwhile, Focus bond note holders will be able to invest £21m in exchange for equity in the acquisition vehicle.

HgCapital’s investment in RidgeWind takes its European wind farm portfolio to more than €1.48bn. HgCapital has acquired a ‘substantial’ equity stake in Oxfordshire-based wind developer RidgeWind for an undisclosed sum. The transaction involves the purchase of a majority stake in the company, expansion capital and long-term equity for RidgeWind’s development pipeline. The move follows the purchase of a French wind farm portfolio from Germany’s Enertrag for €69m in early May of this year.

TowerBrook Capital Partners, a UK-based private equity firm, has sold France’s InfoPro Communications to Apax Partners. No price was disclosed for the transaction, in which Apax bought a 44 percent stake in the French professional information group. Since 2001 the business has achieved growth averaging more than 30 percent a year over the last five years and is expected to generate revenues of €70m this year.

Unity Investments has disclosed a 4.87% stake in Debenhams, the London department store group. Unity Investments consists of Icelandic investors Baugur and FL Group and UK retail entrepreneur Kevin Stanford. Debenhams has issued three profit warnings since December. The group returned to the stock market in May 2006 with a share price of 195p after 2-1/2 years in private hands.