In brief

• The Frankfurt office of HgCapital, a European mid-market firm, has sold German industrial automation and ethernet supplier Hirschmann Automation and Control to signal transmissions manufacturer Belden for €245m. HgCapital bought the entire Hirschmann Group in a €115m management buyout from Rheinmetall in February 2004, with debt provided by NIB Capital and Bank of Ireland. The partial realisation, which generated a fivefold money multiple for HgCapital, is expected to complete in March. The firm is considering strategic options for the remainder of the group, Hirschmann Car Communication, which had sales last year of about €100m.

• UK private equity house Apax confirmed that it had agreed in principle to sell its 47.5% stake in PCM Holding, which publishes the Dutch NRC Handelsblad newspaper, to the Dutch Democracy and Media Foundation and other existing minority shareholders. The deal is understood to have a value of €150m and is expected to complete by March. Corporate finance boutique Catalyst is advising Apax on the imminent sale of PCM, which made a net loss of €51m on revenues of €653m in 2005. Apax bought the stake in 2004.

• A European private equity fund has bought a majority stake in Cira Concept for €13m. Platina Limited Partnership, a European private equity fund specialising in B2B services, said on Monday that it had acquired for €13m a two-thirds majority stake in Cira Concept, the French design engineering group. The deal value includes €7m in debt. Cira Concept’s senior management will own the remaining third of the equity. The acquisition fits well with its fund investment strategy, targeting businesses operating in the high-growth B2B services and offering opportunity for consolidation and continued growth.

• UK insurance broker Hutton Collins Capital UK has recommended a buyout of broker Windsor valuing the company at £33.7m (US$66.5m). The buyout vehicle, Ostrakon Capital, is owned by 68 of Windsor’s senior management and employees, as well as Hutton Collins Capital Partners II LP. The proposal values each Windsor share at 52.5p, a premium of about 23% to the closing middle market price of 42.75p on September 12 2006, when offer talks were announced. David Low, the executive chairman leading the buyout, said: “While Windsor has delivered good returns for shareholders over the past eight years, the executive directors believe that a change to private company status, substantially owned by staff, will be a major advantage for the business over the next few years as the insurance broking sector responds to the changes introduced by the FSA.”