CVC has dropped plans to float Kwik-Fit, the UK car parts repair firm. It is hoping instead to sell the business to a trade or private equity buyer ahead of a mid-May deadline. Likely financial bidders include BC Partners, Cinven, KKR and Permira. Michelin is among the potential trade buyers. CVC bought Kwik-Fit from Ford for £350m in 2002. The company operates from 1,976 fixed retail outlets and 568 mobile units across Europe.
- Four Seasons Health Care, which was acquired last year from Alchemy by Allianz Capital Partners, has bought BetterCare group from 3i for £116m. This is the latest acquisition in the rapidly consolidating UK residential care sector. BetterCare Group comprises a private acute hospital and 26 care homes providing nursing care to older people and specialist nursing care to younger adults. 3i bought Carema, a Nordic healthcare services company, last month.
- Lions Gate Entertainment has said it will not proceed with a bid for HIT Entertainment, the company behind TV characters including Bob the Builder. The decision paves the way for a £489.4m bid for HIT by Apax through takeover vehicle Sunshine Acquisitions. Lions Gate said that its combination with HIT would not create additional shareholder value sufficient to justify the move. Lions Gate is the second potential bidder to pull out in as many weeks. Classic Entertainment, the US group that owns the rights to Mr Magoo, Lassie and the Lone Ranger, pulled out last month. About 35% of HIT investors have already approved the Apax deal.
- 3i, the listed private equity group, is closing its Birmingham office as it moves towards fewer but larger business teams across its business lines. The closure follows shut-downs in Liverpool, Edinburgh and Nottingham in the UK, but will be followed by the opening of a new office in Shanghai.
- Fonds Partenaires and the CIC Group have sold French home-accessories retail chains Heytens and Mondial Tissus to Apax France for around €180m. Heytens specialises in selling made-to-measure curtains through a network of stores in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Mondial Tissus is a French retailer of cut-to-measure fabric. The two chains posted sales of €174.4m last year.
- Swiss alternative asset manager Unigestion has been selected to advise on a private equity fund of funds for Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken of Germany. The fund of funds will be launched in the third quarter and will invest globally across a variety of sectors and stages. In the same sector, AGF Private Equity, the French-based fund of funds manager, closed AGF Private Equity Holding Europe at €100m. The target for final close is €250m. Investment split will include 60% in primary fund investments and 40% in secondary transactions, as well as co-investments in buyouts.