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.

Bahrain’s Investcorp takes over Danish jewellery chain Georg Jensen

Bahrain’s alternative asset management firm Investcorp SA on Monday unveiled a USD140m (EUR109m) deal to buy Danish luxury retailer Georg Jensen A/S, saying it had teamed up with industry veteran and Nautica’s founder David Chu, who will become the firm’s creative director and co-chairman.

The agreement for the over 100-year old Georg Jensen was signed with the company’s current private equity owner Axcel Capital Partners.

The global luxury firm designs, manufactures and distributes jewellery, watches, fine silverware and high-end homeware which it sells through 94 fully-owned stores and three franchised outlets around the world. Georg Jensen, with some 1,200 staff and sales of around USD160m last year, belongs to the Royal Scandinavia Group which was acquired by Axcel in 2001.

Its CEO Ulrik Garde Due welcomed the deal, saying that under the ownership of Investcorp with vast experience in building luxury brands, his firm would be able to further enhance its global position as Scandinavia’s top luxury lifestyle brand.

Investcorp has pledged to take Georg Jensen to a global level together with the firm’s management and David Chu, Hazem Ben-Gacem, head of Investcorp’s European corporate investment business, noted. At completion of the deal, Guy Leymarie, former CEO of DeBeers Diamond Jewellers, Cartier International and Dunhil, will also become a member of Georg Jensen’s board, the buyer said.

According to Investcorp’s head of corporate communications, Firas El Amin, as cited by Reuters today, the price for Georg Jensen will be fully paid with working capital and capital expenditure facilities from Nordea Bank AB (STO:NDA-SEK).

With USD11.5bn worth of assets under management as of 30 June 2012, Investcorp has offices in London, New York and Bahrain.

TPG Capital only bidder left in race for Australian Billabong

Australian surf, skate and snow apparel and accessories retailer Billabong International Ltd (ASX:BBG) on Thursday said US private equity firm TPG Capital had remained the sole bidder in its formal sale process after an unnamed second party had dropped out of the race.

Billabong announced on 6 September that an unnamed interested party had approached it with a AUD1.45 (USD1.52/EUR1.16) a share conditional, non-binding takeover proposal, matching the bid received from US private equity firm TPG Capital on 24 July.

Both parties were granted access to due diligence under nondisclosure agreements, Billabong said at the time, without naming the second bidder.
According to sources cited by Bloomberg and Reuters then, the rival suitor was US private equity group Bain Capital LLC which offered AUD694m for the surfwear maker.

None of the two offers reflect the fundamental value of Billabong, its board has said, adding that the best interest of shareholders would be better served by a formal process to evaluate whether it could secure an offer that the board would recommend.

In February, Billabong turned down a takeover offer of AUD3.30 a share, valuing it at AUD851m, from TPG. At the time founder and largest shareholder Gordon Merchant, together with director Colette Paull said they would not accept any offer below AUD4.00 a share.

In its statement from today, Billabong said that its formal sale process continues, with no guarantees that a deal will be reached.

Sponsor Clayton Dubilier & Rice in $1bn deal to acquire David’s Bridal

US private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC (CD&R) has entered into a definitive agreement that will make it the new owner of David’s Bridal Inc, the US retailer specialising in wedding gowns and related accessories.

Leonard Green & Partners LP, which bought David’s Bridal in 2006, will retain a minority stake in the business. CD&R said that the deal values the target company at about USD1.05bn (EUR842m) and is expected to close during the fourth quarter. Paul Pressler, operating partner at CD&R, will become chairman of David’s Bridal once the purchase is finalised.

David’s Bridal has been in business for more than six decades and currently sells its wares through 300-plus US stores, five outlets in Canada and an online store. In addition to designer bridal gowns, the company also offers special occasion dresses and accessories.

CD&R partner Richard J. Schnall said that David’s Bridal had the advantage of being a unique and strong business operating in a sizeable and stable industry. CD&R looks forward to helping the company solidify its leadership and make the most of its scale by expanding into new segments, channels and geographies, Schnall added.

David’s Bridal president and chief executive Robert D. Huth said that the company was excited to have the CD&R team on board. Their operational expertise will be most welcome as David’s Bridal accelerates its growth strategies, Huth stated.

CD&R, which received legal advice from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, has secured financing commitments from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays plc (LON:BARC), Goldman Sachs Bank USA and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS). David’s Bridal had Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Barclays as financial advisers, while Latham & Watkins LLP provided it with legal counsel.

UK’s Dairy Crest to sell French unit to in a move to cut debt

British dairy foods company Dairy Crest Group Plc (LON:DCG) said today that after receiving certain permissions it had sealed a binding deal for the sale of its French branded spreads unit St Hubert SAS to an entity owned by private equity firm Montagu Private Equity SAS.

On 29 June, Dairy Crest announced that the buyout firm had offered to acquire the particular business for EUR430m (USD523.2m) in cash through its newly-established company Brassica Acquisition SAS. At that time, the vendor noted that a conditional agreement on the matter was expected to be signed once a consultation with the French Works Council is completed.

Today, Dairy Crest said that this process had been concluded and that it had also received lender consent, which was another condition to finalising the transaction. The divestment, however, is still subject to stockholder and regulatory clearance.

Previously, the British company indicated it would use the sale proceeds to cut net debt and continue growing its domestic branded foods activities as well as to restore profitability at its dairies business in the medium term.

St Hubert ranks second in the French spreads market with a 39% share by value as at March 2012. It generated EBITDA of EUR48.1m and EBIT of EUR46.1m in the year to 31 March 2012, with gross assets of EUR169m at that date. Dairy Crest bought the business in January 2007 for EUR370m.