Top news in brief

Framlington, the UK investment boutique owned by HSBC, has been sold to Axa, the French insurance group, for up to £196m. The business was put up for sale after top staff had been considering a management buyout.

Framlington was put up for sale by owners HSBC (51%) and US fund manager Comerica (49%), which runs the Munder-branded investment vehicles. Framlington’s assets under management were £4.5bn at the end of June and it is best known for its equity funds. A standard calculation puts Framlington’s price at 3% of funds under management, which is relatively higher than for other recent asset manager sales, such as Citigroup to Legg Mason and Deutsche Asset Management to Aberdeen Asset Managers.

  • Wyevale Garden Centres, the gardening retailer, is exploring buyout offers. The company has issued a statement from its board to confirm that it has “received a number of expressions of interest in making an offer for the company from a number of parties including private equity houses”. Wyevale has a current market capitalisation of £291m and made two acquisitions in 2004 of other garden centres. It has more than 100 retail outlets.
  • The IPOs of telecom firms Telenet and Cablecom are expected to take place in early September, with pilot-fishing for Telenet taking place throughout August. The IPO of Telenet is to follow in the footsteps of Eutelsat and Inmarsat, with a competitive element that will see the final syndicate roles awarded part way through the process.

JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, KBC and Lehman Brothers are believed to have been lined up as the “process banks”, overseeing and managing the competitive process, with several others also involved vying for a bookrunner role in the final syndicate.

  • Cablecom has mandated CSFB, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to complete its IPO. The offer is also gearing up for a launch post-summer, with pilot-fishing described as imminent last week. However, appetite in the market suggests that both deals could be done simultaneously, with bankers citing the IPO of GdF and follow-on in Enel earlier this year as an example.
  • General Atlantic Partners is investing Rs1.09bn (US$251m) in Jubilant Organosys, a Bombay-based composite pharmaceuticals business. The investment will be realised through a private placement of 999,000 newly issued shares to the firm. Jubilant will use the proceeds to fund growth initiatives across the pharmaceuticals value chain.

General Atlantic, executives of which will be joining Jubilant’s board of directors, currently owns approximately 4.98% of Jubilant’s total shares after a secondary transaction in the capital markets in the last week of July. This will rise to 8.39% when the private placement is completed.