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.

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.

Private equity firm KKR acquires majority stake in UK’s Acteon

US buyout firm KKR & Co LP (NYSE:KKR) will acquire a majority stake in British subsea energy services provider Acteon Group Ltd from US investor First Reserve Corp, the latter announced on Monday without disclosing the terms of the deal.

The transaction is awaiting customary approvals and is seen to close by the end of the year. Following the completion, Acteon’s current executive management team will remain intact, keeping a significant shareholding in the company. Houston-based private equity firm White Deer Energy will invest in the UK business alongside KKR and the management.

The stake purchase will bring in funds that will help Acteon to pursue its objective to define the market in the relatively new and growing subsea services portion of the upstream industry.

Acteon was set up in 1989 and is headquartered in Norwich, UK. The company received its initial investment from First Reserve in 2006 and has since then finalised eight acquisitions, quadrupled its operating profits and significantly increased its geographic presence, the vendor’s managing directors, Will Honeybourne and Jeff Quake, said. At present, Acteon has facilities in Brazil, Singapore, the UAE, Malaysia, China, the UK, the US and Germany.

JP Morgan Cazenove Limited and Simmons & Company International consulted both First Reserve and Acteon, while HSBC Bank Plc provided advice to KKR.

Private equity firms in talks to acquire RBS’ Direct Line

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (LON:RBS) may not get to list its unit Direct Line Insurance Plc as two consortia made up of leading private equity groups prepare to make a move on the business, the Sunday Times reported citing City sources.

RBS has been instructed by European Union regulators to sell Direct Line as compensation for its state-sponsored rescue in 2008. The UK lender is planning to float 30% of the business in September and has lined up 11 investment banks to assist with the process, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and UBS AG (NYSE:UBS) assigned leading roles in the undertaking.

RBS is expected to file the required documents with the London Stock Exchange next month, the newspaper added.

However, the two private equity consortia are preparing to make their move at the end of July, potentially thwarting RBS’ plans. One of the groups comprises US private equity giants Blackstone Group LP (NYSE:BX) and Bain Capital LLC, while the rival bidding combo is made up of KKR & Co LP (NYSE:KKR) and UK-based Apax Partners Holdings Ltd and BC Partners Limited, the Sunday Times was told.

Direct Line, the company behind brands such as Churchill and Green Flag, is the number one UK car insurer in terms of policy numbers and the top home insurance provider, the article went on to add.

It has long been coveted by rival sector players and private equity groups although RBS’ attempt to offload the business in 2008 proved unsuccessful as bidders failed to match the asking price of GBP7bn (USD10.9bn/EUR8.9bn).

BC Partners also featured among the bidders then, joining forces with Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE:APO). The auction also attracted US billionaire investor Warren Buffett and a consortium made up of CVC Capital Partners Limited and insurance group Swiss Re (PINK:SSREY).

Direct Line’s valuation has shrunk significantly since then although the company reversed its heavy 2010 losses to exit last year with profits of GBP454m, the Sunday Times said.

Private equity firm KKR banks $2bn from sale of Alliance Boots stake

US private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co LP (NYSE:KKR) said on Tuesday it would receive USD2bn (EUR1.6bn) in cash and stock from the sale of its stake in Swiss pharmacy-led health and beauty group Alliance Boots GmbH to US drugstore chain operator Walgreen Co (NYSE:WAG).

Walgreen announced earlier today it would invest an initial USD6.7bn in cash and stock to buy a 45% stake in Alliance Boots under a strategic partnership deal, with an option to buy the rest after a three year period.

KKR, which invested USD2.45bn in Alliance Boots in 2007 alongside the health and beauty retailer’s executive chairman Stefano Pessina, said it would get USD1.8 bn in cash and seven million Walgreen common shares, worth USD200m at current prices, from the disposal.

Under the terms of the deal, Dominic Murphy of KKR will join the Walgreen board together with Pessina, the buyout group said.

Separately, Walgreen said it would pay a total of USD4bn in cash and 83.4m of its shares for the initial Alliance Boots stake. It plans to use existing cash and new debt to finance the cash part of the price and expects to wrap up this deal by 1 September 2012, pending regulatory approvals.

The partnership is seen to create the world’s top pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retailer with 11,000 stores across 12 countries, the largest global pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution network comprising more than 370 distribution centres serving pharmacies, doctors, health centres and hospitals in 21 countries, as well as the largest purchaser of prescription drugs.

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Private equity sponsor KKR agrees to acquire Prisma Capital

US private equity major KKR & Co LP (NYSE: KKR) said it had entered into an agreement to buy Prisma Capital Partners LP, an alternative investment manager focused on providing customised hedge fund solutions.

KKR offered no information on financial terms. It said it expected to finalise the deal during the fourth quarter.

Prisma was established in 2004 by Girish Reddy, Thomas Healey and Gavyn Davies, all of them former partners at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). They built the business with support from joint venture partner AEGON USA Investment Management LLC, a unit of Dutch-based insurer AEGON NV (AMS:AGN). As part of the deal with KKR, AEGON will dispose of its minority interest but remains a large investors in funds managed by Prisma.

Prisma has built a strong reputation for assembling teams of hedge fund managers with stellar records and putting together custom portfolios for its clients. The company had assets under management totalling USD7.8bn (EUR6.2bn) as of 1 April 2012, more than 90% of them managed on behalf of institutional investors.

Prisma will be folded into KKR’s Public Markets unit, keeping its investment team and operations intact and continuing to do business under its own brand. Reddy will be put in charge of KKR’s global hedge fund of funds operations, while Healey and Davis will serve the company in a senior advisory capacity. Goldman, Sachs & Co and Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP provided counsel to Prisma and AEGON, while Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP represented KKR.

Henry Kravis, who founded KKR with George Roberts and shares the CEO responsibilities with him, noted that many institutional investors were looking for more liquid alternative investment products and customised hedge fund solutions were essential for addressing that need. Prisma fits in well with KKR’s business and its professional team is a welcome addition to the family, Kravis added.

Former Everything Everywhere CEO teams with Apax, KKR in bid for firm — report

Tom Alexander, the ex-CEO of Everything Everywhere Ltd, has enlisted the financial backing of private equity majors KKR & Co LP (NYSE:KKR) and Apax Partners Holdings Ltd for a daring GBP8bn (USD12.6bn/EUR9.9bn) move on the top UK mobile phone operator, the Sunday Times reported citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

Everything Everywhere emerged on the scene in 2010, bringing together in a joint venture T-Mobile and Orange, the UK units of Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DTE) and France Telecom SA (EPA:FTE). The mobile operator, which has 27m users, was led by Alexander until last year, when he resigned to have more time for his family.

After spending months in an attempt to line up financial backers for a potential takeover bid, Alexander has enlisted the help of KKR and Apax, which are reportedly willing to provide about GBP3bn, the Sunday Times said. However, bankers believe that the consortium may find it impossible to secure the rest of the money before the autumn given the current state of the debt market.

Should Alexander manage to pull off the deal, he would be responsible for one of the largest UK takeovers backed by private equity. The record belongs to the 2007 buy-out of Alliance Boots, which featured a GBP11bn price tag and also had KKR in the driving seat.

But besides potential funding difficulties, Alexander and his partners have an even greater obstacle to overcome, namely persuading Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom to sell Everything Everywhere at this point.

While the telecommunications giants do not plan on being long-term investors, sector valuations are too low at present to tempt them into an exit, especially since neither company is hard-pressed for cash, a leading banker was cited as saying by the newspaper.

According to sources in the City, Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom estimate their joint venture to be worth at least GBP10bn, the Sunday Times added.