ECP agrees £1.3bn for Biffa as US firms hunt European names; Stirling Square takes Digital Testing unit from Eurofins

Good morning Eurohubsters, Craig McGlashan here with the Dealflow.

Before we get to the latest deals, I’d like to let you know that PE Hub Europe’s Nina Lindholm, David Wansboro and I will be at the HPE Europe conference in London on Thursday. It’d be great to grab a quick chat if you’re there – let me know at and we can get something arranged.

Expanding waste. First up on the deal front, the board of UK waste management firm Biffa has agreed to a take-private deal with Energy Capital Partners (ECP) that values the company at around £1.3 billion ($1.4 billion; €1.5 billion), or £4.10 per share. That represents a 28 percent premium to the closing price of £3.25 on 6 June, the last business day before the offer period began, and 31 percent to the volume weighted average price of £3.18 per share over the three-month period ending 6 June.

At least 75 percent of Biffa shareholders will need to vote in favour for the deal to go through. ECP has irrevocable undertakings that two major shareholders in Biffa, Global Alpha Capital Management and Soros Fund Management, will vote in favour of the take private deal. They hold just under 14 percent of Biffa’s shares, which are listed on the London Stock Exchange.

“ECP is excited to begin this long-term partnership with Biffa and its extremely talented employees and leadership,” said Andrew Gilbert, partner at ECP, in a statement. “We intend for Biffa to remain focused on providing the high level of service to which its customers have become accustomed and look forward to supporting Biffa’s strategic initiatives, development, growth and industry leadership.”

The private equity firm plans to grow Biffa, which is headquartered in High Wycombe, organically and via bolt-ons.

“Given generally supportive but uncertain public policy in the waste management sector, ECP believes that Biffa requires patient, sustained capital investment predicated on a long-term investment horizon,” ECP said in a note announcing the agreement. “With a long-term view of capital allocation, Biffa will be best positioned to thrive in its key markets, which are underpinned by long-term growth drivers including the UK government’s policy objectives to increase plastics recycling and re-use, eliminate avoidable waste and achieve 65 percent recycling of municipal waste by 2035.”

The potential deal comes after a series of extensions to the deadline, as reported by PE Hub Europe.

ECP is headquartered in Summit, New Jersey.

US interest. The potential Biffa deal is another example of US private equity firms looking to snap up European companies. Some US firms are adding to their European plans by opening London offices, such as Thoma Bravo.

On Monday, Miami-headquartered Raines International, an executive search firm, said it had opened a London office.

“Many of our US-based private equity clients have opened their London offices in recent years and have sought our level of service and delivery in their new markets,” said CEO Dan Smith in a statement.

US interest in UK assets will likely be boosted thanks to sterling being at record lows versus the dollar, as we wrote about yesterday.

From sterling to Stirling. Stirling Square Capital Partners announced that it has agreed with Eurofins Scientific to buy Eurofins Digital Testing for €220 million on a cash and debt free basis.

Eurofins Digital Testing was established in 2015 and provides global testing, quality assurance and technical analysis of digital systems, devices, content and cyber security. The entity, based in Hasselt, Belgium, has grown via organic growth, strategic investments and bolt-on acquisitions.

“Over the last seven years, Eurofins Digital Testing has successfully grown to become a recognised leader in its space,” said Gilles Martin, CEO of Eurofins. “In order to facilitate its further development, we have decided to pass the ownership of the business to Stirling Square.”

Stirling Square Capital Partners is based in London and invests in mid-market companies with an enterprise value of €100 million to €500 million. The firm has over €2.5 billion in assets under management.

Eurofins Scientific is headquartered in Luxembourg.

Making connections. There was more US interest in European firms elsewhere. Audax Private Equity portfolio company Trexon announced that it has acquired UK firm Intelliconnect, a supplier of RF connectors, adapters and cable assemblies.

Intelliconnect is headquartered in Chelmsford, England and has an office in Crossville, Tennessee. Trexon is a Macedonia, Ohio-based designer and provider of wires, cables, connectors, assemblies and accessories use in high cost-of-failure environments.

“The addition of Intelliconnect brings a customer-centric organisation with a level of expertise and experience that aligns with the Trexon strategic vision of delivering application specific solutions,” said Mark Twaalfhoven, president, and CEO of Trexon. “Their innovation enables the development of critical technologies that support key megatrend drivers such as AI and the application for quantum computing.”

Audax Private Equity is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

To the core. One Equity Partners (OEP) announced on Monday that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the core operating assets of Muehlhan.

Muehlhan is a provider of industrial services within the wind, oil and gas, marine and construction industries. It is based in Hamburg and focuses on wind services, surface protection, steel services, passive fire protection, scaffolding and insulation work.

“Our strategy is to quickly scale the renewables, marine and infrastructure businesses through acquisitions and become an even better provider to renewables OEMs, marine clients and public infrastructure providers, while benefitting from the strong underlying growth in each of the three end-markets,” said Philipp von Meurers, managing director at OEP. “The underlying end-markets exhibit attractive growth prospects and are backed by global efforts to decarbonise energy, US infrastructure investments and increasing naval defence budgets in light of the recent geopolitical complexities.”

OEP is a private equity firm headquartered in New York.

That’s it from me – we’ll speak again tomorrow.