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European PE round-up: HIG in talks to acquire Naturalia; Providence Equity latest fund surpasses USD 3bn mark

[This is a round-up of the largest pending deals, auction situations and fundraises involving European private equity houses over the last week. The date shows the last update published by this news service. This list does not consider deals that may have been completed but have not yet been made public.]

In our latest Nordics Advisory Viewer report we stated that Nordic dealmakers increasingly focus on due diligence.

Last week a few new sale processes were reported which included WindStar Medical, a German over-the-counter (OTC) consumer healthcare group, which is being prepped for sale by its owner Oakley Capital. Also, H&MV Engineering, whose investor Exponent has engaged Rothschild to advise on the sale of a minority stake. In ongoing situations, HIG Capital is in exclusive talks to acquire Italian natural cosmetics producer Naturalia TantumCinvenCVCICG, and PAI Partners are among sponsors competing to acquire UK-based audio equipment manufacturer Audiotonix from Ardian.

On the fundraising side, Providence Equity Partners has surpassed the USD 3bn mark for its latest flagship buyout fund.

Our recent weekly EMEA Dealspeak report we reported that VCs, PEs collaborate on late-stage European tech rounds.

Upcoming Deadlines

Trivium Packaging: Non-binding offers are expected towards the end of March or early April, Mergermarket reported on 6 March.

Clece: Binding offers are expected to be submitted by the end of March, Expansion reported on 14 March.

New Situations

WindStar Medical (25/03/2024)

WindStar Medical, a German over-the-counter (OTC) consumer healthcare group, is being prepped for sale by its owner Oakley CapitalMergermarket reported. The Munich-based sponsor has tapped Alantra to advise on a potential sale, which is expected to kick off later this year. WindStar could be marketed at around EUR 30m adjusted EBITDA.

H&MV Engineering 

UK-based private equity (PE) firm Exponent has engaged Rothschild to advise on the sale of a minority stake in portfolio company H&MV EngineeringMergermarket reported. Exponent is marketing the stake in the Ireland-headquartered electrical engineering business at FY24 EBITDA of at least EUR 70m, taking into account the recent add-on acquisition of Skanstec. H&MV recorded FY23 EBITDA of around EUR 40m.

Hameur (18/03/2024)

Hameur, a French holding company and owner of food processing and vegetable preparation equipment manufacturers and suppliers Magimix and Robot Coupe, has been listed for sale by the de Jenlis family, l’Informe reported. The family has enlisted their longstanding banks, BNP Paribas and Societe Generale, as advisors for the process. The sellers are seeking a private equity (PE) sponsor able to invest approximately EUR 500m in a leveraged buyout (LBO) transaction, which could value the target at between EUR 1bn and 1.5bn. Hameur generates an EBITDA of approximately EUR 130m.

Ongoing Situations

Naturalia Tantum (25/03/2024)

Private equity firm HIG Capital is in exclusive talks to acquire Italian natural cosmetics producer Naturalia TantumMergermarket reported. Exclusivity was granted at the beginning of this month, and due diligence was completed recently. Talks between the parties are in the final stages. The deal is expected to be signed at the end of April. Naturalia Tantum’s owner, Assietta Private Equity Sgr, had appointed Equita and Houlihan Lokey to handle the sale of the business.

Bormioli Pharma (25/03/2024)

Strategics are circling Bormioli Pharma as sponsor Triton Partners has begun a process of splitting the Italian packaging group into two parts, focused on plastics and glass respectively, Mergermarket reported. At least two industry players are looking at the individual units. BNP Paribas and Goldman Sachs, which were appointed to run a sale process, continue to work on the split.

Audiotonix (25/03/2024)

CinvenCVCICG, and PAI Partners are among sponsors competing to acquire UK-based audio equipment manufacturer Audiotonix from ArdianMergermarket reported. With the Goldman Sachs-led auction of Audiotonix in the second round, private credit providers and banks are competing to finance the deal. Direct lenders have pitched unitranches of GBP 800m-plus based off structuring EBITDA of GBP 130m–GBP 140m.

Partner in Pet Food (25/03/2024)

CVC Capital and rival private equity house Advent International have joined forces to jointly bid for Hungary-based Partner in Pet FoodFT.com reported. Their bid is now the only one on the table for vendor Cinven and negotiations are ongoing with no certainty yet of a deal. Cinven had put an approximately EUR 2bn price tag on Partner in Pet Food.

Mehilainen (22/03/2024)

CVC has decided to postpone the launch of the sale of Finnish healthcare services provider Mehilainen until 2H24, Mergermarket reported. The sale, which was originally planned for as early as 1Q24, is now expected to launch after the summer. The sponsor has decided to wait for an anticipated lowering of interest rates in the coming months to minimise potential financing challenges. The buyout firm has mandated Goldman Sachs and Jefferies to oversee the process. Mehiläinen recorded EUR 1.85bn FY23 revenue, up 13.3% compared to FY22. Underlying EBITA was EUR 215.7m (EUR 137.6m in FY22), while the result for the financial period came to EUR 40.1m (EUR -9.4m).

Opdenergy (22/03/2024)

Opdenergy [BME:OPDE] has announced that GCE Bidco, S.L.U., a vehicle of Antin Infrastructure Partners [EPA:ANTIN], has achieved a 99.6% acceptance of its takeover bid for the Spanish energy company. Antin has opted to exercise the squeeze-out to delist the Spanish renewable energy group from the stock exchange as soon as possible.

Apleona (21/03/2024)

The sale of Apleona, a German facility and real estate management company backed by PAI Partners, has launched with non-binding offers due shortly, Mergermarket reported. Information memoranda have been distributed. The deal is being handled by Bank of America and Deutsche Bank and could fetch a valuation of EUR 3.5bn-EUR 4bn. The company was expected to be marketed off EBITDA of at least EUR 300m.

Nutkao (21/03/2024)

Nutkao, the Italian chocolate producer put up for sale by private equity firm White Bridge Investments, has attracted the attention of a large number of industrial and private equity bidders, Il Correire della Sera reported. Industry bidders include Netherlands-based Baronie, Germany-based Krueger, France-based Andros,  Caffarel, the Italian subsidiary of Swiss-based Lindt [LON: 0QKN], and Spanish chocolate producer Natra, which is controlled by PE firm Capvest. PE bidders include TowerbrookBain, CapvisRhone Capital, and BC partners. Italian chocolate manufacturer Irca is also interested in the dossier. White Bridge is being advised by Vitale and Houlihan Lokey. Nutkao has a turnover of EUR 340m, two-thirds of which is generated abroad, while EBITDA is EUR 40m. Nutkao is valued at EUR 500m.

Law Business Research (21/03/2024)

Several private equity sponsors that had been weighing bids for Law Business Research (LBR) have dropped from the auction, while others are struggling to meet the vendor’s valuation expectations, Mergermarket reported. ArdianCinven, and Montagu were no longer pursuing the Levine Leichtman Capital Partners-owned (LLCP) provider of legal information services. Apax Partners may also have dropped from the auction. On the whole, buyout groups have balked at LLCP’s GBP 700m-plus asking price. This price tag is equal to 16x-18x LBR’s EBITDA. Over the past fortnight, select sponsors had been invited by the sell-side advisor Raymond James to submit informal indicative bids.

Rimes Technologies (20/03/2024)

EQT was set to collect non-binding offers for data management firm Rimes Technologies on 20 March, Mergermarket reported. The New York and London-headquartered firm, which provides financial institutions with benchmarking, risk, and ESG data, has attracted interest from sponsors including The Carlyle Group [NASDAQ:CG], TPG, and Hg ahead of the bid deadline. The auction is expected to be sponsor-heavy after several strategic suitors dropped their interest ahead of the non-binding offer deadline. EQT, which is being advised by Evercore on the sale, formally launched the process earlier this monthThe company generated around USD 35m in FY22 EBITDA.

Intellera Consulting (20/03/2024)

Italian IT consulting company Intellera Consulting has attracted an offer from US counterpart Accenture [NYSE:ACN], Il Sole 24 Ore reported. Private equity firm Seven2 had been awarded 10 days of exclusive negotiations but that has now expired. Private equity owner Gyrus Capital is being advised by Rothschild and EQUITA. Intellera Consulting posted EUR 113m revenue and EUR 26.5m EBITDA for the FY ending 20 June 2023.

Lucart (20/03/2024)

The sale of Italian hygienic paper manufacturer Lucart is due to kick off imminently with information memorandums to be distributed by the end of the week, Mergermarket reported. Lincoln International is running the sale of the family-owned business, which is being marketed off revenue of EUR 700m and EBITDA of EUR 90m-EUR 100m for 2023. Several private equity firms have been invited to bid for the business, with non-binding offers expected in mid-April.

Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (20/03/2024)

German worker’s union IG Metall is receptive to the sale of Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, the naval business of Thyssenkrupp [ETR:TKA], to US investor CarlyleHandelsblatt reported.

Hydro Dolomiti Energia (19/03/2024)

Two consortia are vying for Macquarie’s 40% stake in Italian hydropower producer Hydro Dolomiti Energia as the auction enters its endgame, Mergermarket reported. Swiss investor Energy Infrastructure Partners (EIP) is competing with a consortium that includes Equitix and Tages Capital. The consortium also includes local investors La Finanziaria Trentina and Fondazione Caritro, which are minority shareholders in Dolomiti Energia along with Equitix. The two final bidders have already filed their offers, and a decision about the winner is expected soon. The Australian investor is being advised by Rothschild and Equita on the deal, code-named Project Blanche and expected to fetch up to EUR 500m. Hydro Dolomiti owns 22 large-scale hydropower plants plus five mini-hydro plants and generated EUR 146m of EBITDA in 2022.

Small Situations

Target Vendor Advisor Size Last report intel
Robin Radar Systems Inkef Capital and NBI Investors William Blair marketed off more than EUR 10m in EBITDA 22/03/2024:

Mergermarket reports Dutch IT developer Robin Radar Systems is on the market.

Costa Edutainment DeA Capital BNP Paribas turnover of EUR 81m in 2023 22/03/2024:

Il Sole 24 Ore reports Italian recreational, cultural, and educational site operator Gruppo Costa Edutainment has attracted three preliminary offers.

Amalgamated Laboratory Solutions Ansor William Blair marketed off around GBP 20m EBITDA 21/03/2024:

Mergermarket reports Sponsor Ansor has hired William Blair to help explore an exit from UK-based portfolio company Amalgamated Laboratory Solutions (ALS Dental).

Groupe IEF2I Education MBO & Co Rothschild EUR 10m-EUR 14m EBITDA 21/03/2024:

Mergermarket reports a minority stake in French higher education expert Groupe IEF2I Education (IEF2I) is up for sale with Edmond de Rothschild advising.

Kordcarbon Jet Investment Redbaenk 2023 sales of CZK 159m (EUR 6.3m) 21/03/2024:

Mergermarket reports Jet Investment has mandated Redbaenk to sell COMPOSITE Group, a high-tech materials producer for the automotive and aircraft industries.

Octime  Andera Partners and CAPZA marketed off more than EUR 10m in EBITDA 20/03/2024:

Mergermarket reports the owners of Octime are in discussions with investment banks as they explore sale options for the French HR software developer.

Primelis Initiative & Finance Amala Partners marketed off around EUR 10m EBITDA 18/03/2024:

Mergermarket reports the owners of Paris-based digital marketing consultancy Primelis have launched a sale of the company.

Announced Deals

GasNet (21/03/2024)

CEZ Group announced the acquisition of a 55.21% stake in GasNet, a leading gas distribution infrastructure operator based in the Czech Republic. The ownership stake being sold is currently managed by Macquarie Asset Management

Private Funds

Providence Equity Partners Fund IX (20/03/2024)

US-headquartered sponsor Providence Equity Partners has surpassed the USD 3bn mark for its latest flagship buyout fund, according to a regulatory filing. The fund has a USD 6bn target, as reported.