In brief top news

Danish toy maker Lego is in talks that could lead to the sale of four of its amusement parks. The sites are in Denmark, Germany, the UK and the US. Rumoured buyers include Blackstone, Palamon Capital Partners and Dubai International Capital. The company made a record US$314m loss in 2004 and wants to sell its four amusement parks as a complete package. Lego is owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, grandson of company founder Ole Kirk Christiansen. The company is not publicly listed but has published earning reports since 1997.

  • Private equity firms circling CVC disposal Kwik-Fit may lose out in the auction to a trade buyer: Japanese-based tyre manufacturer Bridgestone. CVC has been looking to sell Kwik-Fit since April. Reports put Bridgestone at the forefront of the circa £1bn auction, with possible competition from BC Partners and JP Morgan Partners, among other private equity firms.
  • Nicolas de Nazelle has joined secondaries advisory firm Triago-X at partner level. He worked previously at SG and JP Morgan. Triago-X has also recruited Kim Laidlaw as an analyst.
  • UK-listed SVG Advisers, a fund management boutique, has hired Andrew Goodwin to boost its private equity-style investment strategy. Goodwin will be working with the seven-strong public equity team, which currently manages about £180m, or more than a third of the firm’s assets. The team uses private equity investment analysis to identify undervalued or buyout targets among listed firms. Goodwin previously worked at rival boutique Sovereign Asset Management, where he was a researcher and analyst. SVG Capital invests principally in private equity funds that are managed or advised by buyout firm Permira, which owns part of SVG.
  • French buyout firm PAI Partners has gained approval from Chr Hansen Holding’s shareholders to acquire its food ingredients business for DKr8.2bn (US$1.425bn). The deal, which was announced in May, exceeded reported expectations, with the private equity company buying on an estimated price to sales of 2.2 times after fending off bids from Blackstone, CVC and Apax.

PAI Partners was advised by CSFB. Denmark-based Hansen, which was advised by Carnegie and is primarily left with its chemicals business, ALK-Abello, is expected to use the money to invest in marketing and other efforts. According to a report from private equity firm 3i, private equity and venture capital invested in Europe’s food and drink companies nearly doubled from €2.7bn in 2001 to €4.5bn in 2002.

  • The European Union has approved BC Partners’ purchase of Swedish-based Dometic, a manufacturer of equipment for recreational vehicles. BC Partners will pay approximately US$1.42bn to acquire the company from EQT Partners, which bought Electrolux in July 2001.