In brief top news

UK pharmaceutical group Goldshield could be taken private by CEO Ajit Patel. The company has confirmed that early stage discussions are underway regarding a possible buy-out of Goldshield, which Patel founded in 1991. Panmure Gordon is advising Goldshield.

  • Wendel Investissement, the French private equity house, is reported to have shown interest in FNAC, which is part of the Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR) shopping empire. FNAC is a books and electronics chain worth €2bn. Wendel’s chief executive Jean-Bernard Lafonta is reported saying: “We are interested in FNAC . . . they know we are interested. It’s a very French situation”.
  • Gresham Private Equity, a UK mid-market private equity firm, has sold Individual Restaurant Company to Bank Restaurant Group in a transaction valued at approximately £41m (US$79m).The transaction was financed in conjunction with a £32m equity placing on AIM and will provide Gresham with a 2.3 times return on its original £18m March 2004 management buyout. Under Gresham’s ownership, Individual Restaurant Company has rolled out 11 new restaurants under the Piccolinos and Restaurant Bar & Grill Brands. Gresham also announced the sale of Blue Group International, a social care and medical business, to HCL (formerly Healthcare Locums) for £12m (US$23.6m), making a return of 2.6 times its investment.
  • Gilde Buy Out Partners, a Belgian private equity firm, has led the acquisition of a majority stake in Groupe Novasep, a French provider of synthesis and purification solutions to the life science industries, for an enterprise value of €425m (US$563m). Banexi Capital Partenaires, a mid-market private equity firm owned by French bank BNP Paribas, partnered with Gilde to buy an approximately 72% stake previously held by Rockwood, a speciality materials business. Groupe Novasep management will own approximately 28% of the capital following completion of the transaction.
  • Bridgepoint, has exited its investment in specialist hire company Longville with a sale to Carrier Inc of the US, a business unit of United Technologies Corp., for an undisclosed sum. In September 1999, Bridgepoint backed the £30m (US$59m) management buy-in of Longville, which focuses on the rental of pump, power and climate control equipment, through the acquisition of three specialist hire companies.
  • Penta Capital, a Glasgow and London-based private equity firm, has acquired a controlling interest in Geronimo Inns, which operates 15 pubs in London. Penta, will invest up to €14.3m (£10m) in the business, while Barclays Bank will commit new facilities of up to €21m (£14.5m). The funding package will enable Geronimo Inns, founded in 1995 by Rupert and Joanna Clevely to roll out new sites in London and the South East of England, with plans to double the size of the existing business over the next three years.