In brief mid-market

Middle-market private equity firm Riverside Company is acquiring Sentinel, a UK-based heating products manufacturer, for US$44m from GE, the diversified technology, media and financial services company. Sentinel is being spun off from GE Infrastructure Water and Process Technologies. The company has become the industry leader and sells 17 product lines through European distributors of HVAC and plumbing products. Sentinel is Riverside’s 113th acquisition since 1988 and represents the first time it has acquired a company using equity from two of its funds, Riverside 2003 and its second European fund, REF II. Prior to this, Riverside acquired Veritext, a provider of court reporting services to law firms, insurance companies and Fortune 500 companies. In 2005, Veritext expects to generate more than US$70m in revenues. Madison Capital Funding, Babson Capital and National City Equity Partners provided debt financing for the acquisition.

  • MidOcean Partners, the middle-market private equity firm with offices in New York and London, is acquiring Bezier Holdings from funds managed by Electra Partners for £77m. Bezier is the leading UK-based provider of point-of-purchase marketing materials serving a blue chip customer base of retailers and branded goods manufacturers. Bezier is one of Europe’s largest retail media specialists and the largest such operator in the UK. The company works with a broad portfolio of blue chip brands and retailers including ASDA, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Superdrug, Homebase, Boots, Honda and First Choice.
  • 3i Group and syndicate members SEB Foretagsinvest, Innovationskapital and Industrifonden are selling interests in Biovitrum, one of Europe’s largest biotechnology firms. 3i’s undiluted stake in the company is 26%. Arexis is a Swedish biotech company specialised in the development of pharmaceuticals for the treatment of metabolic and inflammatory diseases. Biovitrum employs around 500 staff and generated revenues of SKr787m in 2004. Advisers on the deal included ABG Sundahl Collier, Advokatfirman Lindahl, and Lindhs DLA Nordic. With its 20-year track record of healthcare investing, 3i currently backs 100 early-stage companies including Gyros, SBL Vaccin and CRF in the Nordic region.
  • Industri Kapital will buy Bonna Sabla from AXA Private Equity, according to reports. AXA bought a 71% stake in the company from Generale des Eaux, Vivendi Environnement’s water management business, in December 2002. Generale des Eaux retained a 20% stake, while management held the remaining 9%.