UK private equity firm Bridgepoint acquires France’s Flexitallic Group

UK-based private equity group Bridgepoint Capital Ltd has agreed to acquire French sealing solutions provider The Flexitallic Group from French buyout firm Eurazeo PME via a EUR450m (USD588.9m) deal, the target said.

Flexitallic manufactures and supplies industrial static sealing products such as industrial gaskets and dynamic and static packings to the oil and gas, power generation, chemical and petrochemical industries. Since 2006, when Eurazeo bought a majority stake in the company, Flexitallic has acquired six firms and bolstered its revenues eleven times to EUR210m, it said.

The sale will allow Flexitallic to continue its technological development and geographic expansion in the traditional markets in the US and Europe, as well as in other markets, such as China, it noted, adding that it intended to double its size in the next five years.

According to the buyer, the business being acquired offers significant growth opportunities in North America, where the group already operates, and also in Asia, Australia and South America.

Under the terms of the deal, Eurazeo will keep a minority stake in the business. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is seen closing in July.

US sponsor Veronis invests in UK-based SaaS firm Thomsons Online Benefits

US private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS) said today it had made an investment in UK benefits management software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider Thomsons Online Benefits Ltd, without disclosing its size or value.

The investment in Thomsons, which provides SaaS-based benefit and pension administration, workflow and reporting solutions, as well as ancillary consulting services, was made via VSS’s second structured capital fund VSS Structured Capital II, in conjunction with ABRY Partners LLC’s takeover of Thomsons, VSS said.

The move will allow Thomsons to grow in the UK and worldwide, said VSS Europe partner Morgan Callagy.

Thomsons, which is based in London and has offices also in Singapore and Romania, caters to UK mid-market and multi-national corporations.

Sponsor 3i agrees to sell Canada’s Mold Masters to Milacron in $970m deal

UK private equity firm 3i Group plc (LON:III) on Tuesday announced a CAD975m (USD969.1m/EUR724m) deal to sell Canadian melt delivery and control systems specialist Mold-Masters Ltd to plastics processing solutions provider Milacron LLC.

Georgetown-based Mold-Masters designs and makes advanced hot runner systems, temperature controllers and auxiliary equipment for the plastic sector. 3i made its initial investment of CAD166m in the company in 2007 and has since helped its growth in Asia, Europe and South America through organic projects and acquisitions, it said.

The deal with Milacron was reached at the end of an auction process initiated by 3i late last year, the vendor said, adding it also serves its portfolio restructuring strategy announced last June.

3i will pocket proceeds of some GBP219m (USD343m/EUR256.2m) from its Mold-Masters exit, compared to an opening value of GBP115m at 31 March 2012 and a value of GBP158m as 31 December 2012.

The vendor expects completion of the sale by April 2013, pending regulatory clearances, it said.

Sponsor Montagu sells hair styling group ghd to rival Lion Capital in £300m deal

UK-based Montagu Private Equity LLP has agreed to dispose of its hair styling products firm Jemella Group Ltd (dba ghd) to rival private equity firm Lion Capital LLP.

The private equity groups did not disclose the amount they had agreed on. However, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that the professional hair styling products supplier would change hands for almost £300m ($474m/€355m).

Montagu became the owner of ghd in 2007, when it bought the business for £160m. With the support of its private equity partner, ghd expanded its operations through entry into new markets and invested substantial amounts into new product development.

The company also diversified its sales channels, stepped up international marketing efforts and launched brand development campaigns. As a result, ghd has increased its profits more than twofold to £32m, generating revenues in excess of £150m, according to the statement.

Ernst & Young LLP served as adviser to Montagu and ghd, while Rothschild provided counsel to Lion Capital. Financing for the acquisition comes from Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LON:LLOY).

Private equity firms KKR and Permira to sell ProSiebenSat stake — report

Buyout firms KKR & Co LP (NYSE:KKR) and Permira Advisers LLP are considering selling their majority interest in German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG (ETR:PSM) to a trade buyer, the Financial Times reported.

Informed people told the paper that the private equity firms had hired JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) to help them review their options for a potential partial or full exit of the business. According to two of the sources, US media and entertainment company Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) could be one of the potential bidders at this early stage.

The consultants may also offer the controlling interest to German newspaper publisher Axel Springer AG (ETR:SPR), which, however, may face certain antitrust issues. Comcast Corp (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA) are also considered as potential candidates.

In 2006, US-based KKR and UK-headquartered Permira acquired their majority stake in ProSieben for EUR3.1bn (USD4.2bn), valuing the entire company at about EUR5.9bn.

Private equity firms team up to bid for Vivendi’s Brazilian unit GVT

A group of private equity firms, including KKR & Co LP (NYSE:KKR) and Apax Partners LLP, intends to make a joint bid of as much as USD5bn (EUR3.7bn) for Brazilian telecommunications company Global Village Telecom (Holding) SA, or GVT, a unit of French Vivendi SA (EPA:VIV), Bloomberg said today citing knowledgeable sources.

Other participants in the group are Gavea Investimentos Ltda, owned by JP Morgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM), and Cambuhy Investimentos Ltda. Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual Group is still mulling over the possibility of taking part in the bid, the sources said. Valor Economico had reported previously, without citing sources, that BTG Pactual had pulled out of the race.

Their rival in the competition is US satellite-television provider DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), which is expected to propose a price closer to the asking price of USD8bn, due to the synergies that a possible deal could create. According to one of the sources, potential bidders are getting ready for the second round of the auction, which is seen to be completed by the end of next month.

Representatives for Vivendi, Apax, KKR, BTG Pactual and JP Morgan refused to comment. DirecTV did not immediately respond to Bloomberg’s message asking for a comment, whereas Cambuhy Investimentos did not answer the agency’s calls.

Vivendi put GVT up for sale in 2012 after buying it for EUR3bn (USD4.1bn) in 2009.

US-based food group Hostess to sell Twinkies to private equity

US wholesale baker Hostess Brands Inc could soon announce a deal worth around USD400m (EUR296.2m) to divest certain snack cake brands such as Twinkies and Donettes to buyout firms Apollo Global Management LLC and C Dean Metropoulos & Co, two sources told Reuters.

The targeted activities also include the Dolly Madison bread and Hostess cupcakes brands.

The bankrupt company is currently picking stalking horse bidders for its various brands and activities. Previously, it agreed to sell most of its bread business plus the Beefsteak bread brand to Flowers Foods Inc (NYSE:FLO) in two separate transactions for up to USD360m and USD30m.

Furthermore, Hostess entered into an agreement to shed its Drake’s snack cake operation to McKee Foods Corp for USD27.5m as well as its Sweetheart, Eddy’s, Standish Farms and Grandma Emilie’s bread brands and some assets to United States Bakery Inc, also called Franz Family Bakery, for USD28.9m.

Other interested parties could still participate in an auction for these businesses and make better offers. According to the lead banker on the sale, Joshua Scherer of Perella Weinberg Partners, many parties have shown interest in Hostess’ assets, Reuters said.

Private equity sponsor KKR increases investment in Vietnam’s Masan to $359m

US private equity major KKR & Co LP (NYSE:KKR) said it would pour a further USD200m (EUR153m) into Vietnam’s Masan Consumer Corp, a unit of Masan Group Corp, in a move that brings its total investment in the fish sauce maker to USD359m, marking its largest Asian investment.

The deal, the biggest private equity transaction in Vietnam, follows an investment of USD159m by KKR in April 2011, its first buy in the country, which gave it a 10% stake in Masan Consumer.

Under the agreed terms, KKR will purchase new and secondary Masan Consumer shares, it said, without providing details about the size of the additional stake it would buy.

Commenting on the acquisition, Lu Ming, KKR’s regional chief for Southeast Asia, said it reflected the US company’s view that Vietnam was a growth market.

KKR has nearly 100 staff in Asia at its seven offices in the region.

French financial services group Groupama divests private equity arm

French insurance and banking group Groupama SA said it had struck a final deal to sell its investment arm Groupama Private Equity to domestic private equity firm ACG Group for an undisclosed sum.

The transaction has yet to receive regulatory green light, which is seen to occur by the end of the first quarter of this year, Groupama said.

The deal is in line with Groupama’s strategy to shed non-core assets, it said. Groupama Private Equity and ACG will combine complementary competences, the vendor added.

Through the acquisition, ACG will take control of Groupama Private Equity’s funds of funds operation Quartilium and sponsored and sponsorless mezzanine business ActoMezz, which account for EUR1.4bn (USD1.8bn) and EUR200m of managed assets, respectively.

The combination will create a company with some EUR3.5bn of assets under management, ACG’s chairman, Wladimir Mollof, noted.

Advent, Kreke family to squeeze out remaining Douglas shareholders

Advent International Corp and the Kreke family said today that they had so far accumulated a 95.33% stake in German retailer Douglas Holding AG (ETR:DOU).

Together with the 12.73% already owned by the Douglas founding family Kreke, Beauty Holding Three AG, a firm controlled by funds advised by the private equity firm, secured an ownership level of 93.09% in Douglas by 4 December. Another 2.24% stake was bought outside the EUR38.00 (USD50.34) tender bid, whose additional acceptance period is set to expire on 21 December.

Having secured over 95% of the German firm, Beauty Holding can now proceed with a squeeze-out for the rest of the Douglas stock, with the procedure to be carried out until 20 March 2013 at the same price per share, the pair added.

The EUR1.5bn transaction, which was launched in October, will see the Kreke family holding an indirect stake of 20% in Beauty Holding, while Advent funds will own the rest.