Silver Lake drops threshold for Software AG takeover; PAI takes majority stake in ECF Group from Naxicap

ECF Group is a business-to-business distributor of equipment and consumables for hospitality and care professionals.

We’ve been following Silver Lake’s pursuit of listed German tech company Software AG for some time, and we have some developments there to report this morning.

Next, what had already been a busy week for exits becomes even more so, as Naxicap sells its majority stake in a hospitality and care equipment provider to PAI Partners and Mayfair exits a UK-headquartered Japanese food business.

In other food news, Fondo Agroalimentare Italiano, backed by Unigrains, acquired a stake in a seafood supplier, while FSN Capital Partners invested in a solar energy systems supplier.

Change in conditions

Silver Lake has dropped the minimum threshold of 50 percent plus one share for its €32 per share take-private move for German tech company Software AG. The amendment means the acceptance period is extended by two weeks and will now end on 28 June.

The private equity firm had secured just over 30 percent of the shares as of this morning – little changed from where it had reached a few weeks ago, despite support from Software AG management and one of its largest shareholders.

Read our previous coverage for more on Silver Lake’s offer, as well as interest in Software AG from Bain Capital portfolio company Rocket.

Selling up

We wrote yesterday about how there was a flurry of sale announcements by private equity firms this week, and we have another couple for you today.

Kicking off with a private equity to private equity sale, and Naxicap is selling a majority stake in ECF Group, a business-to-business distributor of equipment and consumables for hospitality and care professionals, to PAI Partners.

ECF is based in Grigny, France. The company has over 1,750 employees and annual revenues of around €760 million.

Naxicap will remain a minority shareholder in ECF alongside PAI and the management team after the completion of the deal.

PAI will support ECF in accelerating its growth, both organically and through acquisitions, according to a release.

“We see enormous potential to scale the business even further, strengthening the group’s offer and extending its global reach,” said Mathieu Paillat, partner at PAI Partners.

Naxicap invested in ECF in 2017.

Meal finished

Switching to a trade exit, and yesterday Mayfair Equity Partners announced it will exit the Snowfox Group, a multi-channel and international Japanese food business, to Zensho in a deal valued at $621 million.

Snowfox is headquartered in London. It has four brands – Snowfox, Bento, Taiko and YO! in North America and the UK.

Mayfair first invested in UK group YO! in 2015. It then helped complete YO!’s first international deal in 2017, when it acquired Bento. After that, it acquired Taiko in 2018, before expanding into the US via the merger with Snowfox in 2019. These deals led to the creation of the Snowfox Group in 2021.

Zensho is a food service company based in Tokyo, Japan.

Eating up

Sticking with food, and Fondo Agroalimentare Italiano (FAI), backed by Unigrains, has acquired a stake in Urbis Food, a supplier of seafood for Italian distributors and retailers.

Urbis Food, founded by Giorgio Longhi, is based in Marche, Italy. The company reported sales of over €30 million in 2022.

FAI and its co-investors will support Urbis Food in implementing a growth plan based on nationwide expansion, strengthening the GiorgioMare brand and doubling sales over the next five years, according to a release.

“We have long observed the seafood and retail industry and discern significant growth in the coming years, notably in the high-end segment,” said Francesco Orazi, head of FAI. “The aim is to help him, and his team consolidate the market and develop industrial synergies to fuel future growth.”

Sun’s out

FSN Capital Partners will make a growth investment in Solcellespesialisten, a supplier and installer of solar energy systems in Norway.

Solcellespesialisten is based in Fredrikstad.

FSN will become the majority shareholder, while existing shareholders will retain “significant” ownership, according to a release.