News in brief

  • German Landesbank NordLB is selling real estate holding unit Nileg to Fortress Investment Group. The purchase price for the 30,000-home portfolio amounts to €1.5bn, according to reports. It is believed that the US-based buyout firm beat competing bids from a host of private equity houses including Terra Firma and Blackstone. Nileg Immobilien Holding has assets of €1.4bn under management and recorded a turnover of €250m in its latest financial year. Its sale is pencilled in for the summer. The company owns 30,000 flats in Germany and some in Spain.

Investment bank Drucker & Co advised NordLB on the transaction. NordLB is a German state-controlled regional bank that acts as an umbrella organisation for savings banks in the north of the country. The current plans are designed to strengthen the capital reserves of the bank following repayments of €712m to the state of Lower Saxony.

  • A consortium of Apax Partners, Barclays Capital and the Tchenguiz Family Trust are proceeding without the Baugur Group in pursuit of UK retailer Somerfield. Baugur has withdrawn from the consortium following charges brought against senior executives by the Icelandic authorities. The remaining members of the consortium are continuing to work towards a possible offer for Somerfield, which is valued at about £1.1bn. Citigroup Global Markets and Lehman Brothers Europe are acting for the consortium on the potential takeover bid for Somerfield.
  • A group of seven private equity firms are among the investors exiting Mobiltel, a Bulgarian mobile phone company, just a year after the original buyout. Mobiltel was acquired in May 2004 by Austrian shareholders of Mobiltel Holding and the private equity group for an enterprise value of €1.2bn in cash. The investors were led by ABN AMRO Capital, Citigroup Investments and Communications Venture Partners. The consortium also included Sandler Capital Management, Innova Capital, Global Finance and 3TS Venture Partners.
  • Permira will open an office in Tokyo to cover the Japanese private equity market, currently valued at €6bn. The firms has also appointed Tomoya Shiraishi as the president of newly formed Permira Advisers KK. Tomoya joined Permira on July 15, after a long career at JAFCO, the publicly-traded private equity firm. Tomoya was most recently group officer of JAFCO’s buyout investment division, which he founded in 1998 and that currently has total funds under management of about €600m. The appointment of Tomoya and the opening of the Tokyo office, which will be formally launched in October 2005, are in line with Permira’s strategy to become a global private equity firm.