News in brief

  • CDC Enterprises, the private equity subsidiary of French savings bank Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, has acquired Marc Orian, the French chain of jewellers. Observers estimate the total value of the transaction to be €140m (about US$170m). The vendors include Crédit Agricole Private Equity and shareholders of the Krief family comprising Silvain, Julie and Valérie Krief.

In 2001, Financiere MO, a vehicle of CLAM Private Equity, acquired a 98.48% interest in Marc Orian through a tender offer amounting to a total equivalent of about US$85m.

  • Palamon Capital Partners, the UK-based private equity firm, has closed a refinancing for Star Parks Group, fully underwritten by Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, for a total of €135m in senior, mezzanine and revolving debt facilities. Star Parks, a theme park operator under the Walibi trade name, consists of seven large format sites located in Germany, Holland, Belgium and France.

In April 2004, Palamon Capital Partners acquired the European division of Six Flags, a US-based owner and operator of theme parks, for €162m (US$200m). The acquisition included Star Parks, which reported more than 4.5m visitors in 2005 and revenues of €112m. DrKW is the sole mandated lead arranger and underwriter of the senior, second-lien, mezzanine and revolving facilities, which will be partly syndicated in the European loan market.

  • Change Capital Partners, the private equity firm specialising in branded goods and retail, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Jil Sander, the listed German fashion house, from Prada Group. On February 23 Jil Sander’s shares were up 7% at €375, valuing the company at €45m, with only 3% of its shares trading in free-float.

Founded in Hamburg in 1975, Jil Sander has been controlled by Prada Group since September 1999. Jil Sander is a fashion house that designs, manufactures and distributes luxury women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, accessories, footwear and fragrances. The company is aiming to reach operating break-even in 2006, with total revenues forecast in excess of €140m.

Change Capital Partners was created in January 2003 by Luc Vandevelde, chairman of Carrefour and former chairman of Marks and Spencer.