Epiris and Astorg takeover of Euromoney edges closer; Advent said to look for IDEMIA exit

On completion of the deal, Euromoney will split, with Astorg taking Fastmarkets and Epiris having majority control of the rest.

Happy Friday Eurohubsters, it’s Craig McGlashan here with the final Dealflow of the week.

We’ve had a good few days of big deal coverage – some closed, like RedBird’s purchase of AC Milan, or moving forward, like Certares entering exclusive talks to buy ITA Airways. We finish the week with another big deal moving a step closer – Epiris and Astorg’s proposed joint purchase of Euromoney Institutional Investor.

Private reading. On Friday, the board of Euromoney, a London-headquartered financial publishing and data company (and for full disclosure, my former employer), unanimously recommended that shareholders vote in favour of the offer by the private equity firms for the entire stock of Euromoney at £14.61 ($16.89; €16.91) per share, valuing the company at around £1.6 billion.

The vote takes place on 8 September. Euromoney’s board reached agreement with Epiris and Astorg on the recommended cash offer in mid-July.

If the deal goes through, Euromoney will split, with Luxembourg-headquartered Astorg taking commodity pricing service Fastmarkets and London-headquartered Epiris having majority control of the rest.

Identifying an exit. Another big deal, this time on the exit side, could be coming soon from Boston, Massachusetts-headquartered Advent.

The firm is soon to start the sale of Courbevoie, France-based biometrics and fingerprint identification firm IDEMIA, according to sources cited by Reuters. The sources gave an estimate of roughly €3 billion for the firm’s biometrics and ID division and about €1 billion for its sim card operations, but added that nailing down exact prices would not be possible until the firm’s data became available.

The potential exit comes at a tricky time for sales, with background conditions far from favourable, as we reported last week. But some sales have been going through, such as Palatine’s exit from CTS Group.

Foundation. Moving away from potential to actual deals, HIG Capital has bought CPS Building Services from founder James Rust. HIG intends to use the company to form the core of a wider technical building services group. Several active acquisition discussions are underway.

Cambridge, UK-based CPS provides installation and maintenance services across heating, cooling, ventilation and electrical systems to clients in the healthcare, life sciences, defence and education end-markets.

CPS managing director Liam Connelly will reinvest alongside HIG. HIG, together with the CPS management team, will look to bolster CPS’s organic growth with a particular focus on growing its electrical and maintenance offerings.

HIG is partnering in this effort with Jonathan Simpson-Dent, who will take the role of executive chairman of the group.

“We look forward to working with Jonathan to acquire additional technical building services offerings to complement CPS leveraging HIG’s deep M&A expertise,” said John Harper, head of the HIG Europe lower middle market LBO team in London.

Dream pipe. As always, I like to finish the week on an upbeat note (not that the HIG Capital and CPS deal wasn’t an upbeat note, but probably mainly for those involved!).

Yesterday I spoke to the head of Europe at a private equity service provider who told me that despite the poor economic backdrop, his firm’s private equity pipeline was better not only in terms of numbers than this time last year, but in terms of quality too.

“It won’t be the same outcome, there’ll be no huge multiples,” he added. “But the confidence level is strong.”

The majority will come from technology software and services, he said.

That’s it from me – have a great weekend and we’ll speak again on Monday.