news in brief

Carlyle Group, the US-based buyout firm, has acquired, a Swiss enterprise resource-planning (ERP) vendor, in an all-cash transaction. No terms were disclosed. Founded in 1989, sells Microsoft-based ERP solutions and related consulting services, predominantly to medium-sized enterprises in the manufacturing, retail and automotive sectors in Germany and Switzerland. The business has nine offices in Germany and Switzerland, has more than 180 customers and generated revenues of more than €17m in 2007.

Wolfgang Hanrieder, co-head of Carlyle’s European technology team, said that the unit had acquired and invested in 18 small and medium-sized companies since 2002. The investment was made through Carlyle Europe Technology Partners, a €222m fund raised in 2005 dedicated to small buyout transactions and growth capital investments in European technology companies with enterprise values between €25m and €250m. Other investments in the fund include Global Media, UC4 Software, Transics and NP Aerospace.

The CapMan Buyout VIII fund, Roope Lehtinen and the company’s other management have entered into an agreement to acquire Varesvuo Partners Oy, a Finnish television content and commercial film production company, from Talentum. The agreement covers all companies belonging to Talentum’s TV business with the exception of Oy Filmiteollisuus Fine Ab.

The investment is being made to finance Varesvuo Partners’ growth and strengthen its position as an independent company. It is specialised in the production of television programmes and commercial films. In addition to its core business areas, it rents out production equipment and offers post-production services through its subsidiaries and associated companies. Its subsidiaries include Moskito Television, Kaivopuiston Grillifilmi and Angel Films. The transaction has a debt-free value of about €11m.

ISIS Equity Partners, investing funds from the Baronsmead VCTs, has completed the £7m management buyout of Playforce. Based in Holt, Wiltshire, Playforce is a UK provider of children’s play areas to schools. It was founded by Edward and Rachael Webb in 1998 with a £5,000 Princes Trust Loan.

Platina Finance has sold its 25% holding in French windfarm developer Société Française d’Eoliennes (SFE) for €86.25m to Compagnie Industriali Riunite’s unit Sorgenia. The price is based on SFE’s enterprise value of €345m. Platina invested in a 25% stake in SFE in 2003 and helped grow the company into having 115MW of operational windfarms. In November last year, Sorgenia said it would buy about 80% of SFE for around €198m but all SFE’s shareholders decided to sell to Sorgenia.

In the spring of 2007, Platina, with the support of other investors, took a strategic decision to identify a strong strategic partner that could support SFE in its ambitious growth. Platina appointed Lazard, which ran an auction that saw 20 offers emerge, but SFE was eventually sold to Sorgenia based on an enterprise value of €345m.

Platina is currently raising its fourth fund, a new pan-European renewable energy fund, the European Renewable Energy Fund [EREF], which is dedicated to investment in renewable energy businesses and assets across Europe. EREF, which has a target of €250m, will be invested in development portfolios and assets across proven renewable technologies. This fund will receive an existing development pipeline generated by other Platina funds to date, and benefits from an intermediary closing of €75m in early January 2008.