Bain Capital, Triton battle part of ‘emerging theme’ in antitrust scrutiny; Advent bullish on green

'The fall-out of reducing energy reliance on Russia has highlighted the fragility of European energy security', said Advent International managing partner James Brocklebank.

Good morning Eurohubsters, Craig McGlashan here with Thursday’s Dealflow.

We’ve got an exciting piece to start the day, as we take a deep look into the rival bids from Bain Capital and Triton Partners for Finnish construction company Caverion and how the battle – which has evolved to bring in questions over antitrust and competition law – could be a sign of things to come as regulators take a closer look at private equity ownership of potentially competing firms.

Elsewhere, Advent International is the latest private equity company to give us its thoughts on the year ahead, we have some discussion on what the European Commission’s plans to shake up the EU’s green tech industry will mean for dealmaking, plus an add-on by an AnaCap portfolio company and an exit by Capital Dynamics.

Antitrust. Readers will remember our coverage of Bain Capital making a €7 per share take-private offer for Finnish construction firm Caverion back in November, before Triton Partners made a rival €8 per share bid earlier this month.

Bain then posted on Nasdaq Helsinki that Triton’s ownership of Swedish firm Assemblin meant that the bid from the Triton consortium, Crayfish, could be snarled up in European Commission merger controls, potentially holding up that offer.

We spoke to leading M&A and antitrust lawyers about the deal and found that while it remains to be seen whether the Commission will get involved in this deal, it does speak to a “very interesting issue, namely the way in which antitrust authorities are now thinking about private equity sponsors, and specifically whether interests held in different funds or through different structures can be considered to be independent if there is common ownership at the top of the chain”, one M&A lawyer told us on background. “This will be an emerging theme on both sides of the Atlantic in the next couple of years.”

Check out our full coverage of the battling bids and what they mean for antitrust issues in private equity more generally.

Catalyst. In the latest edition of our Q&A with leading dealmakers about the year ahead, I spoke to James Brocklebank, managing partner at Advent International.

Brocklebank was optimistic about the future for green investments.

“The fall-out of reducing energy reliance on Russia has highlighted the fragility of European energy security, and has created added incentive for investment into alternative energy sources,” he said. “This long-term catalyst to invest in green technologies can become the legacy of the energy crisis, after the short-term negative impact.”

Read the full interview to hear Brocklebank’s thoughts on the inflationary outlook and what that means for private equity, and much more.

Green push. There was another step in the move to green energy yesterday. In yesterday’s Dealflow I talked about the European Commission announcing a series of measures to boost green technologies in the EU, including changing state aid rules and cutting red tape for new clean tech production sites.

Allan Bertie, co-head of European investment banking at Raymond James, shared his thoughts on what the move could mean for dealmaking. While subsidies would attract capital into countries and support industries, the “limited financial resources in EU government coffers raises question of how meaningful or widespread these can be”.

Bertie added that the increased demand from funds for ESG investments and subsidies could increase the attractiveness of previously marginal opportunities, while a buy-and-build M&A approach to get businesses to scale could be a result – particularly in the rollout of “green” generating capacity.

The EU’s move also threw the collapse of UK battery start-up Britishvolt – which entered administration this week – into “clear focus”, according to Bertie.

“Where does it leave the UK on competitive spectrum for green investments?” he said.

Another add-on. AnaCap-backed MRH Trowe (MRHT) is set to acquire Lurse, a DACH pension and consulting specialist.

Lurse, based in Germany, operates in the benefits and human resources industry, and offers brokerage and consulting services. The firm has over 500 clients across many sectors including several large DAX-listed companies and employs 200 FTEs from seven offices in Germany and Switzerland.

The prospective add-on will be the 21st since AnaCap’s partnership with MRHT in October 2020.

Read about MRHT’s revenue goals in our full coverage here.

Exit. Capital Dynamics sold a 27.5 MW onshore wind portfolio to Alpha Real Capital.

This move formalised Capital Dynamics’ exit from Capital Dynamics Clean Energy and Infrastructure III LP (CEI III), the platform’s first European-only renewables fund.

Read more on the deal here.

That’s it from me. Nina Lindholm will be with you tomorrow for the final Dealflow of the week.