TPG sells Bally

TPG has sold Bally to Labelux Group, a newly established Vienna and Milan-based luxury goods holding company, owned by the family-controlled Joh A Benckiser SE. Terms were not disclosed but the price is thought to be in the region of €440m.

Bally, founded in 1851 by Swiss industrialist Carl Franz Bally, is best known for its high quality shoes. Today, the business has evolved into a global brand, introducing ready-to-wear clothing as well as bags and other leather goods. The business retails through about 250 namesakes stores and in total more than 750 points of sale worldwide.

TPG bought Bally in 1999 for SFr200m, at which time it was operating at a significant loss, then spent five years restructuring it before the shoe company made a profit in 2004. The transaction is expected to close this summer following customary regulatory approval. Rothschild, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton acted as financial and legal advisers respectively to TPG and Bally and BNP and Oppenhoff & Partner for Lablelux.

Geoservices for sale

Private equity firm Astorg has appointed Goldman Sachs to advise on the sale of Geoservices, a provider of upstream services to the oil industry. According to analysts, Geoservices is worth about €1bn. The company reported revenues of US$416m in 2007. It is 52.4% owned by Astorg Partners and 38.3% by founder Gaston Rebilly. The remaining shares (9.3%) are held by about 100 employees.

Cerberus backs away from Agfa-Gevaert

Cerberus Capital Management has decided not to press ahead with its plans to bid for the healthcare business of Belgian imaging technology group Agfa-Gevaert. According to sources, the US investor believes the worsening economic conditions and the division’s declining revenues mean the deal looks too risky.

Last December, Cerberus was linked with a possible buyout of the whole of the Belgian group, or some of its parts. Some of today’s reports state that Cerberus may still be interested in Agfa’s graphics division. Late last year, De Standaard put the value of the imaging group at €2.6bn (US$3.78bn).