PAI makes move for The Looping Group; Silver Lake ups bid for Software AG

Providence and Searchlight inch closer to takeover of Hyve Group.

As I’ve been away on holiday, it’s rather apt that we open today’s Dealflow with some news of PAI Partners making a play in the leisure sector. Next, I do a little round-up on some of the latest take-private developments, including Providence and Searchlight’s bid for conferencing firm Hyve, and Silver Lake having potential competition on its interest in Software AG.

We then round up the latest deals.

At your leisure

There’s nothing better than coming back from holiday and having a fresh deal in the inbox to report, and even more so when it has a holiday angle.

Private equity firm PAI Partners this morning announced that it had made a binding offer to acquire The Looping Group, a European leisure park operator, from Mubadala Capital’s private equity business and Bpifrance, the French national investment bank.

Paris-headquartered Looping owns and operates 18 sites, including theme parks, wildlife parks and aquariums, across eight countries. They have six million visitors a year, according to a statement.

PAI said it would use its expertise gained from other outdoor leisure investments, including European Camping Group – whose acquisition of Vacanceselect we covered in depth back in February.

“Looping is a young company with exciting prospects,” said Bertrand Monier, a partner at PAI Partners, in a statement. “Positioned in the resilient budget leisure segment, the group is well placed to benefit from long-term tailwinds that underpin the local leisure park market.”


A take-private attempt by private equity firms Providence Equity Partners and Searchlight Capital Partners for UK-based conference company Hyve Group took a step towards completion after shareholders voted to approve the takeover in the middle of last week.

The parties now have a court hearing to sanction the takeover of 18 May, before the takeover comes into effect on 22 May.

The final recommended cash offer was for 121p per share, which would value the total share capital of the firm at £363 million ($454 million; €410 million) and £524 million on an enterprise value basis.

The consortium also said late last week that it had entered into a senior facilities agreement with Hayfin Capital Management and Deutsche Bank.

The facilities comprise a senior secured term loan facility of up to $107 million, a senior secured term loan facility of up to €97.3 million, a senior secured term acquisition facility of up to $55 million, a senior secured delayed draw term facility of up to $37 million and a senior secured delayed draw term facility of up to $125 million.

For a full round-up on European take-private action this year, including on how private equity firms are funding deals, check out my feature here.

Software says ‘no’

Software AG, a tech company HQ’d in Darmstadt, Germany, looks to be happy with its first take-private suitor – private equity firm Silver Lake – despite reported interest from elsewhere.

The company said late last week that it had agreed an amended offer with Silver Lake, which would be for €32 per share, up from the earlier €30 offer. The new offer would give an equity value of around €2.4 billion and offer a premium of 63.3 percent to the level just before the interest was announced, or 57.5 percent to the three-month average up to that point.

Software AG added that the increased offer meant it “does not intend to enter into discussions” with a “US software competitor” and noted the “recent media speculation about an offer at €34 per share”. It said this non-binding offer was “subject to specific conditions that were not achievable”.

That was likely a reference to a Bloomberg report, which cited sources that said private equity company Bain Capital had made a €32 per share offer and planned to merge Software AG with its portfolio company Rocket Software. Bloomberg also said that Bain has been building a stake in Software AG. Silver Lake, meanwhile, has control of over 30 percent of Software AG.

This is not the first time that Bain has been involved in a take-private battle over the last few months – although last time, it was the original bidder. It initially had support from the board of Finnish construction company Caverion, which later switched its support to rival private equity firm Triton Partners.


Kartesia has sold ADL Biopharma, a Spanish bioingredients company, to Wacker Chemie, a multinational chemical group.

ADL is headquartered in Leon, Spain. The company works in precision fermentation, providing scale-up and manufacturing services for a number of end-markets.

ADL will be integrated into Wacker Biosolutions, the biotechnology division of Wacker Chemie.

Kartesia first invested in ADL in 2019 and became sole shareholder in 2021.

ADL has more than doubled revenues under Kartesia’s ownership, according to a statement.


Astorg, via Astorg Mid-Cap, will acquire a majority stake in hg medical, a global manufacturer of complex orthopaedic implants focused on extremities, from NORD Holding.

hg medical is based in Raisting, Germany.

Astorg will support hg medical to further accelerate its development, both organically and through acquisitions, according to a release.

“This is Astorg Mid-Cap’s first investment in Germany and, after the investment of our flagship fund Astorg VIII into Corden Pharma last year, the second transaction of Astorg in Germany since we opened our Frankfurt office in 2022,” said Florian Luther, partner and head of Astorg Mid-Cap Germany.

Double deal

We have a couple of add-on deals involving Aurelius to report.

Unilux, a portfolio company of Aurelius Equity Opportunities, has announced the acquisition of HBI Holz-Bau-Industrie.

HBI is headquartered in Rotenburg an der Wümme, Germany. The company has more than 130 employees and is active across the DIY, building materials trade, contract business, system construction, carpentry/craft and building sectors.

Unilux is a German producer of window and door products for private households with a customer base in the DACH region, as well as in the US.

Meanwhile, Connexta, backed by Aurelius Growth Investments, has acquired esko-systems, a company that provides IT security support to medium-sized and large companies.

Esko is based in Kötz, Bavaria.

Connexta is an IT services company for German medium-sized businesses with a focus on the areas of IT security, multi-cloud services, managed services, and modern workplace. The company, based in Munich, Germany, generates sales of around €95 million.


A&M Capital Europe has acquired a majority stake in World of Sweets and Bobby’s (IBG) from Sculptor Capital Management.

IBG is a brand owner and tech-enabled distributor of confectionery, baked goods and savoury snacks into the convenience retail, speciality, wholesale and grocery channels. The company is headquartered in Loughborough, UK.

IBG plans to pursue bolt-on acquisitions, focusing primarily on branded targets in existing and new categories where it can leverage its footprint, according to a release.


Innova Capital has promoted Andrzej Pietrzak to partner.

This appointment will further strengthen its position in the e-commerce, logistics, and tech-enabled B2B sectors, according to a release.

Pietrzak joined Innova in 2013, and before becoming a partner, he served as managing director at the firm.

Innova, based in Warsaw, Poland, is an independent private equity advisor, that invests in majority buyouts in mid-sized enterprises with activities in Central and Eastern Europe.

For more on private equity opportunities in that region, check out my recent interview with Sandberg Capital’s Michal Rybovič.