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.

Click here for an earlier version of this story.

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.

Finnish Nokia agrees sale of Vertu unit to sponsor EQT Partners

Finnish mobile phone group Nokia Oyj (NYSE:NOK) said on Thursday it was selling its luxury handsets making subsidiary Vertu Corp to EQT VI fund, part of Swedish private equity firm EQT Partners AB, for an undisclosed price.

According to earlier media reports, the sale was expected to generate EUR200m, but Financial News has not been able to verify the actual price tag.

The struggling handset maker also announced that it will cut 10,000 jobs as it warned that losses of its mobile phone business will be wider than expected in the second quarter.

Nokia will keep 10% in Vertu, it said, adding that the sale to EQT VI was the next logical step in the unit’s development, helping it to focus on increased opportunities for growth in the luxury category.

EQT VI has also announced the agreement, saying it would further develop Vertu as a standalone firm through significant investments in retail expansion, marketing and product development.

Vertu’s strong brand, its leading position in its category and significant growth potential makes it a perfect fit for EQT VI’s investment strategy, Jan Stahlberg, partner at EQT Partners, said.

Vertu’s president, Perry Oosting, expressed in his comment confidence that EQT VI will position the company to continue its growth and lead the sector.

Based in Church Crookham, UK, Vertu employs around 1,000 globally. The company offers tailored, luxury services and finest design, engineering and manufacturing services. Its products sell through more than 500 stores, including over 70 own-brand boutiques, in 66 countries around the world.

Subject to regulatory clearance and other customary conditions, the transaction is expected to complete during the second half of this year, the parties said.

For more on this story, click here.