London-listed Standard Chartered cleared to acquire Credit Agricole’s Turkish operation

The Turkish Competition Board has cleared British lender Standard Chartered Plc (LON:STAN) to buy Credit Agricole Yatirim Bankasi Turk AS, a unit of French banking group Credit Agricole SA (EPA:ACA), the regulator said on Monday on its website.

According to the statement, Standard Chartered has secured approval for the acquisition of the entire Credit Agricole Yatirim Bankasi Turk. It gave no details about the financial terms of the deal.

The target company, active since 1990, had assets of TRY74.9m (USD42m/EUR34m) at the end of last year. The Turkish bank provides corporate and investment banking services.

Standard Chartered is being investigated by the the New York Department of Financial Services over alleged improper transactions with Iran and scheduled a hearing on the matter for Wednesday.

According to Reuters sources cited today, Standard Chartered, which disagrees with these claims, is working to settle the charges before the hearing.

Analysts told the news agency last week that the US authorities could impose a fine of as much as USD1bn (EUR812m) on Standard Chartered, with rumours saying that the sum could even be higher than that, as the New York banking regulator is pushing the case.

Benjamin Lawsky, the head of the New York’s Department of Financial Services, said the bank could lose its licence unless it offers a satisfactory explanation at its upcoming hearing, Reuters said.

For more on Standard Chartered’s acquisitions, please click here.

For more on the US investigation of Standard Chartered, please click here.

Sweden’s EQT confirms €220m deal for Austrian UC4

Swedish private equity firm EQT Partners AB announced today that its EQT VI fund had signed a deal to buy Austrian IT process automation software vendor UC4 Software GmbH from a unit of The Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ:CG).

EQT will acquire the company from Carlyle Europe Technology Partners, UC4’s founder Franz Beranek and its management team for an enterprise value of EUR220m (USD270.4m). The sealing of the deal was reported earlier by the Financial Times, which quoted insiders.

The transaction is pending clearance from certain authorities and is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of the year. As part of the deal, UC4’s management will reinvest in the business alongside EQT IV.

According to Per Franzen, EQT partner in Germany, the business being acquired will have a new supervisory board comprising a mix of EQT industrial advisors who will back UC4’s management in further expanding into the cloud automation market.

Wolfsgraben-based UC4 offers IT process automation through its One Automation platform, which assists organisations in managing IT landscapes. The company has a client base that includes around 2,050 blue chip customers and generated revenues of EUR62m in the fiscal year to April 2012. It has additional headquarters in Bellevue, the US.

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BP agrees to sell its Texas-based gas processing plants for $228m

British oil and gas group BP Plc (LON:BP) said its BP America Production Company unit is selling its midstream gas operations in Texas, comprising the Sunray and Hemphill gas processing plants and their gathering systems for USD227.5m (EUR185.1m) in cash.

The agreement was signed with US sector firm Eagle Rock Energy Partners LP (NASDAQ:EROC), BP said, adding that the operations to be sold will be better off in the hands of a specialist in midstream oil and gas.

The two plants serve BP’s natural gas production in the Texas Panhandle region. BP’s natural gas producing assets in the area are not part of this deal, the vendor explained.

The transaction is expected to wrap up in the fourth quarter of this year, pending receipt of regulatory clearances among other closing conditions.

BP’s gas operations in North America comprise assets in seven top gas basins in the US’s lower 48 states. The group continues to explore opportunities to grow its US onshore business over the long-term, as it considers it an integral part of its operations, it said.

According to the British group, its North America Gas (NAG) unit is the seventh largest natural gas producer in the US. BP invested over USD52bn in its US business between 2007 and 2011, more than it had spent in any other market, it said. BP employs 23,000 in the country.

Carlyle sells Austrian IT firm UC4 to Sweden’s EQT in €220m deal

Swedish private equity investor EQT Partners has emerged victorious in the heated competition for Austrian-based IT automation solutions provider UC4 Software GmbH, agreeing a EUR220m (USD270m) deal with its owner The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:CG), the Financial Times reported citing knowledgeable sources.

The newspaper was told that the parties were expected to make the announcement today. Arma Partners served as adviser to Carlyle, while Lazard Ltd (NYSE:LAZ) acted on behalf of EQT, the FT added.

According to the article, this is among a handful of recent deals to see a large European-based software company go to a buyer from the continent. The majority of sizeable transactions have involved US buyers, for example the acquisitions of British Misys Plc (LON:MSY) and Autonomy Corp Plc by Vista Equity Partners and Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) respectively.

Carlyle bought UC4 in 1996. The company’s area of business, IT automation, has become the focus of much attention due to being perceived as crucial amid the accelerating shift to cloud-hosted systems.

UC4 generates some USD100m in annual revenues and serves in excess of 2,000 customers. It has a number of blue-chip clients on its list, among them BT Global Services, TUI AG (ETR:TUI1) and Societe Generale SA (EPA:GLE). UC4’s most recent EBITD is estimated in the region of USD25m, the FT said.