Last word

Lehman Brothers has added Credit Suisse First Boston’s Stuart Upcraft to its UK mergers and acquisitions desk. Upcraft will join Lehman later in the year as head of UK M&A, which is responsible for about a third of European M&A, reporting to Anthony Fry. Carlos Fierro and Vittorio Pignatti are Lehman’s co-heads of European M&A.

  • Avio Group, the aerospace propulsion company acquired in 2003 by Carlyle, has bought from Royal Philips Electronics an 80% share of the aeronautical operations of Philips Aerospace. Philips Aerospace produces complex components for the world’s leading aerospace manufacturers such as General Electric, Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems.
  • Woolworths Group, which came under hedge fund pressure to return cash to shareholders after takeover talks with Apax were terminated in April, has reiterated that it will not be making any special payout. Woolworths’ chairman Gerald Corbett, addressing the company’s AGM, said: “Following the end of discussions with Apax in April, the company has reviewed its capital structure and financing. While the group’s cash-generative capability will continue to underpin a progressive dividend policy, there is no current intention to return cash to shareholders through other means. The group needs to maintain the financial capability to fund the seasonal build-up in working capital ahead of the peak Christmas period.”
  • Apax Partners sold down its residual 12% stake in Italian fund management company Azimut on the morning of June 8. The accelerated bookbuild of 17.1m shares was priced at €5.05, which was a 2.3% discount to the previous closing price. Proceeds amounted to €86.4m. Bookrunners on the deal were Merrill Lynch, Mediobanca, Cazenove and UBM. Azimut’s €380m IPO, which took place in July 2004, was priced at €4.00 and saw a relatively disappointing take-up from Italian investors.