News in brief

US private equity group KPS Capital Partners has agreed to buy some of the assets belonging to the UK and Irish businesses of Waterford Wedgwood.

“We are pleased to announce that we have signed a contract with KPS Capital Partners,” said Deloitte administrator David Carson on February 27.

KPS is buying assets within Waterford Crystal; the pottery business, Wedgwood; and fine china maker, Royal Doulton. German porcelain maker Rosenthal was not mentioned as part of the deal, but Deloitte said that “KPS is purchasing certain overseas assets and businesses of the Waterford Wedgwood Group.”

While Waterford Wedgwood is in administration under Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers is dealing with the group’s Spode and Royal Worcester administrations, with the latter believed to be of interest to Hilco, which has backed an MBO of Waterford Wedgwood peer company Denby Pottery Company.

Denby has been sold to management with backing from Valco Capital Partners, a subsidiary of restructuring specialist Hilco, in a £30m management buyout.

As a result of the transaction, more than half of the Derbyshire-based tableware manufacturer’s £72m debt has been written off, and Valco has provided a working capital facility.

Bahrain-based private equity group Investcorp has appointed JP Morgan to sell UK-based online payments provider Moneybookers, which it acquired in March 2007 in a €105m deal.

The company could fetch up to €400m given other valuations in the sector, such as Ebay’s US$945m acquisition of Bill Me Later in October 2008. Ebay agreed the price based on a valuation of US$26m for its net assets and US$690m as part of a goodwill payment.

Despite the recession, Moneybookers has continued to show strong growth – adding 10,000 users a day to bring its total user accounts to 6m. The company generated earnings of €18.7m in 2008 on revenues of €34m.

Paris-based 21 Centrale Partners is understood to have won the race to buy the security unit of French paper manufacturer Arjowiggins.

The unit, which has an enterprise value of about €350m, had drawn interest from other private equity investors, including reported bids from Bridgepoint and Chequers Capital. Debt financing for the deal is expected to include up to 10 banks.

The transaction comes swiftly after 21 Centrale Partners bought French surfacing business Prezioso Technilor from Indigo Capital for an undisclosed sum in late February. Earlier in the month, 21 Centrale Partners boosted its investment team, appointing new partner Jacques Rossignol, a former veteran of Finama Private Equity, BNP Paribas and Goldman Sachs, and investment manager Xavier Payet, formerly at the French treasury department.