CVC Capital’s Gridspertise bags Aidon

A week in pharma add-ons.

The energy transition continues to generate attractive investment opportunities, as we saw yesterday with the add-on acquisition by CVC Capital Partners and Enel Grids-owned Gridspertise of a Nordic smart grid service provider. Earlier in the week, we also reported EQT’s agreement to acquire a UK-based energy company from InfraRed Capital Partners.

Switching to take-privates, Apollo Global Management’s bid for listed business The Restaurant Group had an interesting twist when a potential buyer backed out from the bid. We also have an update on the take-private pursuit of Kahoot by Goldman Sachs Asset Management and co-investors including General Atlantic.

In this week’s summary of deal activity, I focus on two healthcare add-ons we reported that demonstrate private equity’s rising interest in the sector, especially pharma services: Arlington Capital-backed Everest Clinical Research’s acquisition of a European contract research organisation; and Pharmathen, a portfolio company of Partners Group, acquiring a vertically integrated peptides manufacturer.

Smart grid

Energy transition is becoming a prominent component in efforts to mitigate climate change. This has piqued the interest of private equity firms, engendering a slew of deals in the energy sector since the beginning of 2023.

Latest of the lot is Gridspertise – jointly owned and controlled by CVC Capital Partners and Enel Grids – wholly acquiring Nordic smart grid service provider Aidon from Alder Fund I, 2VK Invest and Suomen Teollisuussijoitus.

Aidon is based in Finland. It will continue to operate as a stand-alone company under Gridspertise ownership.

Imperative solution

Another energy deal we saw this week was EQT’s agreement to acquire UK-based energy company Statera Energy from InfraRed Capital Partners.

London-based Statera operates flexible generation, battery storage, pumped hydro and green hydrogen projects.

“In a world increasingly reliant on intermittent renewables and striving to achieve net-zero emissions, battery storage and other flexible generation solutions are imperative,” said Francesco Starace, partner within the EQT Infrastructure advisory team. “Both the public and private sectors must commit time, expertise and capital to innovative solutions that can expedite the energy transition.”

For more on the energy sector outlook, check out Nina Lindholm’s piece with Actis’s Jaroslava Korpanec.

Drops out 

Moving on to take-privates, Apollo Global Management previously saw some potential competition in its pursuit of The Restaurant Group (TRG) when Wheel Topco, the owner of PizzaExpress, entered the field.

However, Wheel Topco has now confirmed it does not intend to make an offer for TRG “due to market conditions”, having earlier requested due diligence information from TRG in late October. 

Apollo and TRG announced in October that they had agreed an offer that valued TRG’s total equity at £506 million ($623 million; €586 million), and an enterprise value of £701 million – a multiple of around 9x TRG’s adjusted EBITDA for the 12 months to 2 July.

For more on the announcement, check out our previous coverage here.

Sale completed 

Next, we have an update on the take-private offer for Kahoot by Goldman Sachs Asset Management and co-investors including General Atlantic.

General Atlantic completed the sale of 73.85 million shares in Kahoot on 9 November, representing 14.99 percent of the total issued shares and votes. The firm does not hold any shares or rights to shares in the company following the sale.

GSAM, with co-investors General Atlantic, KIRKBI Invest, Glitrafjord and others, agreed a recommended voluntary all-cash offer for Kahoot in July. The offer price was NKr35 per share, making an aggregate equity purchase price of NKr17.2 billion ($1.64 billion; €1.50 billion).

To catch up on the offer, check out our previous coverage on the bid here. 

Clinical trials

Looks like private equity firms are remaining confident in the attractiveness of the healthcare industry, evidenced by healthy dealflow in the pharma sector. This week, we reported two add-ons.

First up was Everest Clinical Research, backed by Arlington Capital Partners, agreeing to acquire August Research, a European contract research organisation.

August provides clinical trials and pharmacovigilance services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients. It is based in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Peptide production

Lastly, we have Partners Group-backed Pharmathen acquiring CBL Patras, a vertically integrated peptides manufacturer.

CBL provides peptide starting materials and intermediates, as well as industrial and commercial-scale manufacturing of proprietary and generic GMP peptides. It is based in Patras, Greece.

Check out this listicle I compiled on pharma services to know more about the deal activity in the sector.