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Round up


• A private equity consortium comprising Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking, the private equity arm of the US bank; Mid Europa Partners, a London-based Central and Eastern Europe-focused buyout firm; and Al-Bateen Investment Company of Abu Dhabi is understood to be in takeover talks for Bulgarian Telecommunications Company, in a deal which could be worth up to €1.6bn.

• Shareholders in estate agent Countrywide have rejected the £970m offer from 3i, which was leading a buyout attempt with former managing director Harry Hill.

• Private equity firm Carlyle has teamed up with rival Providence Equity Partners and trade buyer Independent News & Media to make a fresh approach for APN News & Media. This cash offer at A$6.05 a share values the latter company at A£3.8bn (€2.26bn). Irish group Independent News & Media, which publishes the Independent newspaper in London, originally attempted to purchase Australian rival APN last October. However, it withdrew this bid, made in conjunction with Providence, on November 24.

Akzo Nobel confirmed that it plans a stock market flotation of its US$9bn-to-US$10bn Organon BioSciences drugs business early this year. Private equity bids tabled last week failed to prove attractive enough.


• Mid-market private equity house Baird Capital Partners Europe has announced two deals in Germany – the backing of a management buyout and the exit of an existing investment. Baird has funded a €156m (US$201m) secondary buyout of German manufacturer Zarges Tubesca, which makes ladders, scaffolding and other platform and elevator systems. Baird has also exited its investment in manufacturing group Hahl, which makes monofilaments for synthetic brushes, bristles and canvas, through a sale to Lenzing Plastics, a German subsidiary of Austrian cellulose fibre specialist Lenzing.

• A consortium led by Kaupthing, Iceland’s biggest bank, has acquired UK fashion retailer Phase Eight from Barclays Private Equity for £51.5m (€77.8m). PwC Corporate Finance advised Kaupthing on the acquisition.

TDC said last Friday it would sell 100% of mobile operator Bite for €450m to Central and Eastern European private equity fund Mid Europa Partners.

Financial Markets

• Electrical and electronic connector manufacturer FCI is rumoured to be preparing for a recapitalisation. The deal, which is likely to be around €700m, should come to market in the next few weeks.

• Speedboat manufacturer Ferretti has launched a €1.28bn deal backing its secondary LBO by Candover. Mediobanca and RBS are bookrunners. Senior debt comprises a €175m seven-year term loan A at 200bp over Euribor, a €270m eight-year term loan B at 250bp, a €270m nine-year term loan C at 300bp, a €65m earn-out facility, which will remain undrawn until certain conditions are met and splits pro rata across the senior tranches, a €50m seven-year capex line at 200bp, and a €130m seven-year revolver at 200bp.

Sector reports

• Candover, a London-based private equity firm, has partnered with former portfolio company Bourne Leisure to buy European theme park operator Parques Reunidos in what has become an increasingly hot sector for private equity.CVC’s and KKR’s acquisition of Van Gansewinkel Groep and its planned merger with AVR is the latest move in the active European waste sector.

• A private equity consortium comprising European buyout firm CVC Capital Partners and US private equity house Kohlberg Kravis Roberts have agreed to acquire all of the outstanding share capital of the Van Gansewinkel Groep, a European waste services provider, for an undisclosed sum.