Private equity firm Investindustrial invests £150m in Aston Martin

European private equity firm Investindustrial said on Friday it agreed to buy a 37.5% stake in UK sports and luxury cars maker Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd for GBP150m (USD240.4m/EUR186m) via a capital increase.

The statement came to confirm an earlier report by Reuters that a deal might be announced today.

The private equity investor, controlled by the Italian Bonomi family, managed to oust Indian commercial utility vehicles company Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, which was the frontrunner in the race for the stake. Under the terms of the transaction, Investindustrial will get proportional voting rights in the target. Kuwaiti Investment Dar Company KSC will retain its major interest in the UK firm.

In a separate announcement, Aston Martin said that the current deal gives it an enterprise value of GBP780m compared to a value of GBP630 before the agreement, and does not include a technical partnership deal with Daimler AG’s (ETR:DAI) Mercedes, contrary to some analysts’ expectations. Aston Martin also unveiled plans to put more than GBP500m into a new product and technology programme over the next five years. It noted that it would keep its production facility in Gaydon, Warwickshire.

The deal is seen to secure regulatory approval in the first quarter of 2013.

Sponsor Apollo acquires UK jewellery chain operator Aurum

US private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE:APO) said it had struck a definitive deal to buy UK luxury jewellery retailer Aurum Holdings Limited.

The investor did no say how much it would pay for the business.

Aurum, which was founded in 2004 and based in based in Leicester, UK, owns and operates a chain of jewellery and watches stores in the country. Its portfolio includes the Watches of Switzerland, Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths brands.

The company was initially created by bankrupt Icelandic investor Baugur Group, which acquired and merged the UK high street jewellery stores under the Aurum name.

As part of Apollo, Aurum will be in a position to benefit from its retail industry expertise, resources and capabilities across the leisure and commodities sectors, the target’s CEO Justin Stead said.

The deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2013. Apollo took counsel from DC Advisory in connection with the transaction.

Philip Green considers selling a stake in retailer Topshop — report

UK businessman Philip Green is reportedly negotiating the sale of a non-controlling stake in local clothing retailers Topshop and Topman with a US buyout firm, Reuters reported, citing a source in the know.

On Tuesday, Sky News reported that US private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners LP was holding discussions with a view to buying into the high street chains in a transaction valuing the two businesses at nearly GBP1bn (USD1.6bn/EUR1.23bn). Leonard Green is already in the retail business through US clothing chain J Crew, which it owns jointly with larger peer TPG Capital LP.

The targeted 25% stake would be ring-fenced from the businessman’s Arcadia Group Limited, which also owns high street clothing retailers Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and BHS.

The parties are expected to unveil discussions about the deal tomorrow, according to the insider.

When contacted by Reuters, Philip Green did not wish to comment, while Leonard Green was not available for comment.

Arcadia recorded GBP2.68bn in sales from its 2,500 domestic stores and 615 franchised units in 39 countries in its fiscal year to 25 August.

Topshop Ltd operates stores that sell clothing and fashion products for women. Topman is the stand-alone fashion business counterpart of Topshop that caters exclusively to men’s clothing.

Blackstone to acquire Intertrust from Dutch sponsor Waterland

US buyout firm The Blackstone Group LP (NYSE:BX) has entered into an agreement to acquire trust and corporate services provider Intertrust Group Holding SA from Dutch investor Waterland Private Equity Investments BV, the target said on its website.

Intertrust did not unveil the value of the transaction, but Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad reported it may be around EUR675m (USD883m). The sum is equal to nine times Intertrust’s gross operating profit of EUR75m.

The transaction is scheduled for completion in the coming months once the parties secure the needed regulatory nods.

Intertrust said it expects to receive many opportunities to extend its service offering. The company’s head office is located in Geneva, Switzerland, while its largest operational office is in the Netherlands.

France’s L’Oreal acquires Urban Decay Cosmetics from sponsor Castanea

French cosmetics group L’Oreal SA (EPA:OR) announced today it had agreed to buy US-based make-up specialist Urban Decay Cosmetics LLC from private equity firm Castanea Partners Inc for an undisclosed sum.

The transaction is awaiting regulatory clearance and is scheduled for completion by the end of the year. Through it, L’Oreal will complement its own portfolio of brands.

Commenting on the deal, L’Oreal USA’s CEO Frederic Roze stated it will enhance the company’s position in the assisted self-service and e-commerce distribution channels in the US.

Based in Newport Beach, California, Urban Decay offers products in the eye category like Naked Palette and Naked Skin. The business achieved sales of USD130m (EUR100.3m) in the fiscal year to June 2012.

DealMarket and CapitalOnStage Announce Project to Help Start-ups Find Venture Capital More Efficiently

A Swiss firm offering third party private equity services has stuck a partnership with a top European venture capital scheme in an attempt to foster entrepreneurship and assist start-up companies in getting access to venture capital in a quick and efficient manner.

DealMarket, who among other things provide a platform for start-up businesses to search for financial backing and help private equity firms to track down promising new investment opportunities, have announced a deal with CapitalOnStage, who organise unconventional conferences where leading investors pitch their services to some of the brightest start-up entrepreneurs in Europe.

The deal will see CapitalOnStage use DealMarket’s online deal management tools to increase the visibility of promising new businesses by linking them to their wide network of respected investors. Potential investors will receive unfiltered access to DealMarket’s database of start-up companies allowing them to quickly find exciting clients with which to bolster their portfolio. If an agreement is reached, a start-up can then also post details of the deal for all of the website’s 35,000 global users to see.

CEO of CapitalOnStage, Arjen Strijker thinks the new partnership offers fantastic opportunities for both start-up companies and firms in the private equity and venture capital sectors, “I was looking for a partner who could really deliver on its promise to run an online marketplace for venture capital and private equity deals professionally. With our long-term partnership we are able to offer our combined clients the opportunity to source and manage deals in one place. I strongly believe that the virtual fosters the physical – now and in the future”

DealMarket CEO Urs Haeusler is equally satisfied with the agreement and believes it offers those in the sector a more transparent marketplace in which to do business, “DealMarket steps from the virtual world into the real world.” said Mr Haeusler, “With this cooperation we are consistently pursuing our vision to build an ecosystem for investors and capital seekers to provide better, simpler and more transparent access to capital and investment opportunities around the world.”

The two firms will begin work in 2013 on a series of conferences around Europe, with dates already confirmed in Berlin and London for early next summer.

More information here: DealMarket in the press.

Private equity firms in talks to take London-listed Corin Group private

British orthopaedic products and services provider Corin Group Plc (LON:CRG) confirmed advanced negotiations over a potential deal to be taken over by 2IL Orthopaedics Limited for GBP0.70 (USD1.12/EUR0.90) a share in cash.

Under UK’s takeover rules, the buyer has been given a deadline until 4 December to decide whether to make a firm offer for Corin, the latter said, adding that the deadline could be extended with consent from the country’s Takeover Panel.

2IL Orthopaedics is a new company, set up by a consortium of private equity investors, including IP Investimenti & Partecipazioni Srl and IDeA Opportunity Fund I in Italy and Hunt Capital SA.

Corin, which issued this statement in response to a recent movement in its share price, warned that there could be no guarantee that the ongoing talks would result in a firm offer being made for its stock.

The company engaged the advisory services of NM Rothschild & Sons Limited.

With operations in the UK, Germany, Austria, Europe, Australia, Japan and the US, Corin makes and distributes orthopaedic devices including mobile bearing total knee replacement, total ankle replacement, soft tissue internal fixation, bone conserving stem and advanced bearing acetabular systems.

Italy’s ALI acquires Scotsman Industries from sponsor Warburg Pincus

Italian foodservice equipment manufacturer ALI Group SpA announced its entry into a definitive agreement to buy Scotsman Industries Inc from US private equity major Warburg Pincus LLC.

The parties did not volunteer any information on financial terms or other deal specifics. Brookwood Associates LLC and Alston & Bird LLP were involved in the transaction as advisors to ALI, while Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP provided counsel to Scotsman Industries.

The Illinois-headquartered target has been operating as Scotsman Industries since May 2009, when Warburg Pincus bought the Enodis Ice Group and changed its name. The company specialises in the manufacture of commercial ice machines and claims to be the global leader in its field. Scotsman Industries sells its products in over 100 countries through a network of more than 1,000 distributors. The company has six manufacturing facilities and employs more than 800 people.

Luciano Berti, chairman and CEO of ALI, said that his organisation was excited at the prospect of adding Scotsman Industries to its family. This acquisition is a strategically important move on ALI’s part because it will enhance the company’s leading position among commercial foodservice equipment suppliers.

Given Scotsman Industries’ market leadership in the ice machine business, ALI will also be able to seize new opportunities and strengthen its capabilities to serve customers. The deal will bring in very well-known brands, which will help ALI enhance its global presence and visibility, Berti stated.

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 enters race for London Stansted airport — report

US private equity major TPG Capital LP has entered the bidding race for Stansted, the London airport owned by BAA Airports Limited, the Financial Times reported citing sources familiar with the talks.

TPG is competing in the first bidding round against Australian financial services provider Macquarie Group Limited (ASX:MQG) and a consortium made up of The Manchester Airport Group Plc (MAG) and another Australian entity – Industry Funds Management. Stansted, the third biggest airport in London, is estimated to be worth GBP1bn (USD1.6bn/EUR1.2bn), the FT said.

According to several sources, MAG is the contender with the strongest chances of emerging victorious from the battle but TPG has its strengths as well. The US investor has its roots in the aviation industry having been created in the wake of Continental Airlines Inc’s rescue from bankruptcy. TPG has maintained its involvement with the sector and its co-founder David Bonderman is chairman of the board of Ryanair Holdings Plc (LON:RYA). The latter is the holding company for Irish-based budget carrier Ryanair Ltd, which is also Stansted’s top customer.

BAA was forced to put Stansted up for sale in the summer after the failure of its final attempt to reverse a Competition Commission ruling. The operator was instructed in 2009 to sell three airports as part of a decision to break up its monopoly, the FT reminded.

The newspaper went on to add that BAA and its majority owner, Spanish transport infrastructure company Ferrovial SA (MCE:FER), are expected to provide bidders with further details this week. The contestants are expected to receive information regarding the deadline for their second-round bids. According to the article, sufficient airport operating experience will be a prerequisite for making the shortlist.