In brief top news

Candover Investments announced preliminary results for the year ended December 31, with a 22.7% rise in total net assets to £312.6m. The listed vehicle also increased profit by 6.1% to £19m. Six exits last year generated aggregate returns for 3x. “The buyout market comfortably attained record levels of new investment and the signs are that the year ahead will be one of further growth,” said Stephen Curran, chairman of Candover Investments. Curran will retire in 2006 after the conclusion of investments for the 2001 fund.

  • Mizuho Securities, a subsidiary of Mizuho Financial, is planning a push into private equity with the launch of a new operation under David Porter. Porter, formerly with Nomura in London under Guy Hands, is aiming to build a team by the end of the year. The new division will start with smaller investments in healthcare and may then move on to other sectors. Mizuho has also been keen in recent years to develop its leveraged finance franchise.
  • Woolworths Group, the retailer, is understood to have started talks with Apax Partners, the private equity firm whose takeover proposal it rejected last month. Apax hopes that the talks will lead to it securing a recommendation from Woolworths’ board for an improved offer. The company rejected an indicative proposal from Apax valuing it at 50p–55p a share last month.
  • AlpInvest Partners has recruited Wouter Moerel as a principal overseeing secondary investments in Europe. The appointment follows the recruitment of Benjamin Rouillard-Revillon to the secondary team earlier this year. Before joining AlpInvest, Moerel was a principal with Carlyle and a vice-president at JP Morgan. In other people news, Bowmark Capital, formerly Sagitta Private Equity, recruited Mike Simmonds as a director from Lloyds Development Capital.
  • BC Partners and Cinven finalised the takeover agreement with the airlines that hold almost half of Amadeus Global Travel Distribution, the listed Spanish company specialising in information technology solutions for the global travel and tourism industry. The proposed €7.35 per share offer values Amadeus at €4.3bn. A tender offer will be made by Wam Acquisition, a newly created company to be held by the airlines and Amadelux Investments, a Luxembourg company owned by funds managed by Cinven and BC Partners.
  • Bank of Scotland Corporate Banking, the subsidiary of HBOS, has provided a £23.8m integrated debt and equity package to support the existing management in the buyout of Tesla, a British provider of specialist precision components for particle physics and medical groups. The MBO has enabled an exit for the incumbent private equity investors, Graphite and 3i, which acquired the business named Tesla Magnetic in 1995.