• Industri Kapital, together with the Jensen family and management, has agreed to sell ELFA for SKr2.1bn (€222m) to Daetwyler, a Switzerland-based engineering and electronic components supplier. With more than 56,000 customers, ELFA is a leading distributor in the Nordic region, Poland, the Baltics, and Russia.
During 2007, ELFA made Ebitda of SKr176m (€19m) on net sales of SKr987m (€105m), most of which were derived from the maintenance, repair and operations segment.
Under Industri Kapital’s ownership, ELFA has grown both organically and by acquisitions, including Tevalo Group (the Baltic states and Ukraine), CLL (Sweden) and Oistein Roed (Norway).
• Education & Adventure Travel Group, a provider of school holiday trips in the UK, has been put on the block by current private equity owner Bowmark Capital. It is believed that the group could fetch £100m–£150m.
Sources report that buyout houses European Capital, Graphite Capital, AAC Capital, Advent International, Bank of Scotland Integrated Finance and CCMP Capital have made the second round cut in an auction managed by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Bowmark Capital created Education & Adventure Travel Group through the merger of School Travel Group and Equity Travel, which it acquired in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
• Close Brothers Private Equity is understood to be in advanced talks to acquire Energy Cranes, a company that provides cranes to the oil and gas industry, for £100m (US$199m). Energy Cranes is currently owned by LMS Capital, which has appointed Jeffries, the investment bank, to run a sale process for the business. AIM-listed LMS was formerly known as London Merchant Securities.
• A bingo operator backed by UK private equity investor Alchemy Partners is in talks with its creditors. Alchemy met Barclays on March 19 to discuss options for the struggling bingo firm, which has seen its revenues suffer due to the smoking ban, tax changes and gambling laws.
Alchemy will decide whether to invest additional equity in the Manchester-based company or hand it over to the bank. Alchemy acquired Buckingham Bingo in a £101m (€129.5m)) buyout in December 2005 and has equity topping £60m vested in the business.
• In the financial year to April 2007, the company generated profits of £3.5m on sales of £37m. Gala Coral, the UK’s largest bingo hall operator, is also in the hands of private equity groups – Candover, Cinven and Permira.
• TMN Group, the UK online direct marketing group, which on March 11 received an offer from Tangent Communications, has formed an independent committee, led by chairman Peter Harkness, “to evaluate possible offers for the company and all other strategic alternatives”.
The board of TMN said: “Since Tangent’s approach, the company has been contacted by several parties expressing interest in acquiring the company. The board intends to explore all proposals fully as part of its duty to maximise value for TMN shareholders. The board has also granted permission to CEO Mark Smith and CFO Craig Dixon to pursue interest with potential private equity buyers.”
The independent committee “unanimously agrees that the price proposed by Tangent significantly undervalues the company and its prospects. Furthermore, it notes that less than 40% of Tangent’s indicative offer would be in cash.”