TPG auctions Findexa

Texas Pacific Group (TPG) put a block of 24m shares in Norwegian telephone directories business Findexa out to auction two weeks ago. The bidding was won by Goldman Sachs, one of the three bookrunners of Findexa’s IPO in 2004, though few banks were involved in the auction.

The bank went out with a fixed price of NKr25.75 and went on to raise NKr618m (US$99m) for TPG. Books closed after only an hour and the shares were placed with a broad mixture of European and US investors attracted by the increase in the free-float and the 4.3% discount to the previous close of NKr26.90. The block represented 12% of the company.

The sector is still seen as a good defensive play, as witnessed in the quick take-up by investors of another chunk of French yellow pages company Pages Jaunes in early February Findexa reported Q4 results on February 22, and investors were able to take comfort from the fact that although print revenues continued their decline, the company was able to announce that it had reached agreement with fixed-line operator Telenor to extend a directories distribution agreement for a further five years.

The agreement, which was due to expire at the end of 2006, is seen as crucial to the investment case in Findexa because its print directories business accounts for about 80% of revenues.