Last word

Blackstone, the US-based buyout group, is in talks with De Vere Group with a view to launching a tender offer, according to sources familiar with the situation. A spokesperson at Blackstone declined to comment.

On March 23, the board of De Vere Group had confirmed press speculation that the UK-listed company has received a preliminary approach regarding a takeover offer, without disclosing the bidder. De Vere’s shares rose by almost 13% in the days that followed and was trading at 805p in on March 28, valuing the company at £698m (US$1.2bn).

De Vere had rejected a bid approach from a private equity group in December 2005. It is attractive to financial investors as it has significant property assets that could be cashed in through sales and lease-backs.

  • Carlyle International, the US-based private equity group, announces that it has acquired more than 98% of Cobracrest, a German holding owning energy drinks brands. Carlyle International tendered to the Cobracrest shareholders to acquire their stocks at a cash price of €5.23 per share or optionally to exchange their stocks against new shares of Cobracrest International Inc., USA as soon as these are listed at AMEX. The cash offer valued the company at €525m. At the same time, Carlyle announced that on March 27th, a further 130,000 shares have been acquired at an average price of €1.383 per share via the stock exchanges Frankfurt and XETRA, valuing the company at €139m.
  • Ranbaxy Laboratories, an integrated, research-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in India, has bought a 96.7% stake in Romania-based generic pharmaceutical producer Terapia from the buyout firm Advent International for US$324m. This follows Ranbaxy’s attempt in February 2006 to buy Germany-based generic drugs maker Betapharm Arzneimittel, which the 3i group later sold to Dr. Reddy’s, another Indian drug producer, in a transaction valued at €480m (US$570m).

The purchase price of US$324m values Terapia at 11.6x the company’s EBITDA in the last twelve months. The transaction is funded from the proceeds of Ranbaxy’s recent bond issue and is expected to complete within in summer 2006.