Bain Capital’s SoftwareOne offer fails to win over board

CVC to buy restaurant chain from Permira.

We’re starting with take-privates and a bit of bad news for Bain Capital, whose move for Swiss tech company SoftwareOne appears over after the latter’s board said it would remain a public company.

There’s better news for EQT though, as it’s public-to-private acquisition of veterinary pharma company Dechra has been approved by the courts.

Switching to pure private deals and CVC has agreed to buy an Italian restaurant chain from Permira.

We then look at co-investments, as Verdane’s Frida Einarson tells Nina Lindholm that larger co-investment focused LPs might make their way back into the market in 2024.

Switching to defence, we cover an initiative from the European Commission to support private equity investment in defence, before we finish with a shoutout to our Infrastructure Investor colleagues’ coverage of BlackRock’s move for Global Infrastructure Partners.

No deal

Bain Capital’s pursuit of SoftwareOne has hit a dead end after the board of the Swiss software company said that it would stay a standalone public business.

The board launched a strategic review in July that considered a sale but said that the only offer on the table, a non-binding SFr18.80 per share from Bain, “neither provides sufficient certainty nor adequately reflects the fundamental value of SoftwareOne”.

That share price valued the total equity of SoftwareOne at around SFr2.98 billion ($3.49 billion; €3.19 billion).

Bain declined to comment when approached by PE Hub Europe.

Vetting complete

EQT’s £4.88 billion ($6.22 billion; €5.68 billion) take-private of UK-based veterinary pharmaceuticals company Dechra is moving ahead however after it gained court approval on Friday.

The takeover is now set to take effect on Wednesday.

Food deal

CVC Capital Partners has agreed to acquire 100 percent of Italian quick-service restaurant chain La Piadineria from fellow private equity firm Permira.

La Piadineria has 400 restaurants across Italy and makes ‘piadinas’, an Italian flatbread. The company has become the number two restaurant chain in Italy, according to a statement, with over 2,500 employees serving 70,000 customers per day.

CVC plans to expand the business in Italy and internationally. It is investing via its Fund VIII.

Permira acquired the business in 2018.

Co-meback

Larger co-investment focused LPs might make their way back into the market in 2024 after a quieter 2023, Frida Einarson, partner at Verdane, told PE Hub Europe’s Nina Lindholm in the next instalment of our outlook series with senior private equity investors.

Verdane is a growth investment firm with offices in Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, London, Oslo, Munich and Stockholm. Its recent activity includes acquiring stakes in software companies Meltwater and Jobylon and leading a funding round in Urban Sports Club.

What do you expect 2024 to look like for private equity co-investments?

Many of the largest co-investment LPs were less active in 2023, leading to strong dealflow for smaller-and mid-sized LPs with co-invest programmes. At the same time, on the supply side many GPs, particularly in the mid-market, used co-investments to optimise their remaining funds in a tough fundraising environment.

We expect this to continue in 2024, with the nuance that some of the larger co-investment focused LPs may be back in the market, dampening dealflow somewhat for mid-sized co-investment focused LPs.

Check out the full interview for more on Einarson’s outlook for 2024.

Defence play

Private equity firms with an interest in the defence sector in Europe are likely to be reading closely news that the European Commission and the European Investment Fund (EIF) have launched the Defence Equity Facility, an initiative with €100 million from the European Defence Fund and €75 million from the EIF.

The money aims to expand EIF’s investment capacity to support private equity and venture capital funds with strategies that cover tech relevant to defence. The Commission expects the initiative to attract additional private investments that will mean mobilising in total around €500 million in support of European companies.

The European Union has a fragmented defence market, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has led to calls for the bloc to unify its defences. Commission president Ursula von der Leyen called for Europe to take “strategic responsibility” in defence matters at the annual conference of the European Defence Agency late last year.

Tikehau Capital is one private equity firm that expects the defence sector to grow in 2024.

Aerospace and defence should experience robust growth, driven by increasing geopolitical complexities and the demand for cutting-edge technologies,” Roberto Quagliuolo, deputy head of private equity and co-head of Italy, told us in December.

Infra play

Finally, the big news on Friday was of course BlackRock agreeing a $12.5 billion cash and share deal for Global Infrastructure Partners.

For the best coverage on the acquisition, check out this article by our colleagues over on Infrastructure Investor, which includes an interview with GIP chief executive Adebayo ‘Bayo’ Ogunlesi.