Last word

CVC Capital Partners would not comment on whether it was preparing to bid for a 41% stake in Deutsche Post held by KfW, the German development bank formerly known as Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau.

KfW’s lock-up period on the stake in the German mail service ends on May 15. An investment would not come cheap, however: At €21.90 per share on May 5, Deutsche Post was trading near its all-time high of €23.75 per share, valuing the company at €26bn.

Meanwhile, CVC has reportedly been pressing the UK government to announce a part privatisation of the UK’s Post office.

At the end of April 2006, Günther Bräunig, executive vice-president of KfW, also declined to comment on plans regarding its 41% stake in Deutsche Post. KfW had previously sold a 4.5% stake in Deutsche Telekom to US buyout firm Blackstone Group for €2.68bn.

Bräunig described the buyout as an innovative instrument for privatisations and said he was pleased that KfW had managed to place the shares at an adequate price without depressing Deutsche Telekom’s share price.

He also saw the sale of the DT stake as a milestone for future privatisations of state assets, adding: “We eagerly anticipate how the private equity community will react to the transaction.” Bräunig would not be drawn on any plans for Deutsche Post, however.

0Meanwhile Debenhams, the UK department store, backed by CVC Capital Partners as well as Texas Pacific Group (TPG) and Merrill Lynch Private Equity, has priced its IPO at the bottom end of its indicative range of 195p to 250p.

CVC, TPG and Merrill Lynch invested £600m in the May 2004 take-private of Debenhams. Since then, the firms are understood to have recouped around £1.3bn in two recapitalisations.

The private equity firms are to sell up to £300m worth of shares in Debenhams and have committed not to sell any of their remaining holdings for at least 180 days.