Sullivan Street’s Zeina Bain advises newcomers; Mayfair’s retake of Seraphine a sign of things to come

Seraphine went public on the LSE Main Market in July 2021 at 295p per share, giving it a valuation of just over £150 million.

Good morning Eurohubsters, Craig McGlashan here with the Thursday Dealflow.

Opening today we have the next in our series of interviews with senior women in private equity to mark International Women’s Day. This time it’s Zeina Bain of Sullivan Street speaking to us about her time in the industry. We also give a shout-out to some of the other great work to mark yesterday at some of the other PEI Group titles, plus a private equity deal by CVC with the Women’s Tennis Association.

Next, we look at the latest on Mayfair Equity Partners’ bid to rebuy Seraphine and ask whether we’ll see more newly public companies go back into private hands.

Sticking with take-privates, I was at a Dechert breakfast discussion yesterday – thanks Nina for filling in on Dealflow duty for me – where the subject of valuation gaps in take-private attempts came up. We have a little on that for you too.

Then deals-wise, we have an industrial play by Epiris and a healthcare tech deal involving KKR.

Women in PE.

Irien Joseph opened our series of interviews with senior women in private equity dealmaking yesterday with her Q&A with Blackstone’s Natacha Jamar.

Next up, I spoke to Zeina Bain, managing partner at Sullivan Street and formerly of Carlyle and Intermediate Capital Group.

Bain shared the three bits of advice she’d give to anyone thinking of joining the private equity industry today, including this snippet:

“A really good junior PE professional asks themselves, what can I do next? I don’t want to wait for the next instruction. What could I be thinking of in terms of the next piece of analysis or moving on a process? What do I need to get comfortable with?”

Read the whole interview to learn the rest of her advice and her thoughts on how the environment for women in private equity has changed during her over two decades in the industry.

Elsewhere, our colleagues across the PEI Group are producing some excellent content for International Women’s Day yesterday.

There’s plenty to enjoy, but I wanted to recommend two pieces in particular.

Gina Gambetta wrote a round-up on the results of Responsible Investor’s Women in Finance survey, which, as she said, make for “sobering” reading.

This comment from a respondent mirrored much of the tone: “In meetings, expecting me to be someone’s PA and not a rightful attendee. Going round the table doing introductions and ‘forgetting’ to let me introduce myself. Clients asking for ‘a man with grey hair’ instead of me to be their consultant before they even met me (just from pictures in pitch materials).”

You can read the whole piece here.

I’d also recommend this article by New Private Markets’ Snehal Shah.

One woman who balances work and childcare responsibilities told Snehal that while there is increased tolerance for flexible working, “I still don’t get to choose my own hours. If my boss calls or a client in Europe calls, I still have to take the call.”

Game, set, match.

Sticking with women and private equity, CVC Capital Partners has entered into a strategic partnership with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

Headquartered in St Petersburg in Florida, the WTA is the principal organising body of women’s professional tennis. Founded in 1973, it governs the WTA Tour, which consists of more than 1600 players representing approximately 80 nations, competing in over 70 tournaments across six continents every year.

You can read more on that deal here.


Take-private news now. Mayfair Equity Partners’ move to retake international maternity wear company Seraphine looks like it’s going ahead.

Mayfair had made an offer of 30p per share for the company, valuing it at around £15.3 million ($19.0 million; €17.4 million), in late January.

Yesterday, the parties said that Mayfair either held or had received acceptances of 77.99 percent of all outstanding Seraphine shares, and was changing its acceptance condition threshold from 90 percent to 50 percent. The offer is now unconditional and Seraphine has applied to cancel its listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Seraphine went public on the LSE Main Market in July 2021 at 295p per share, giving it a valuation of just over £150 million. Mayfair had bought it for £50 million in late 2020.

Such reprivatisation deals might become more popular, one investment banking source told me, as those that went public during the IPO boom of 2021 come to rue their decision.

“Being small-cap is pretty horrible when you can’t get follow-on financing,” the source said. “Anything less than £500 million is hard to get institutions following on. Public companies really limit the amount of leverage, probably to 2x EBITDA. If EBITDA falls, private equity owners understand, but public companies need to stop expanding or change their plans.”

Valuation gap.

There are some forces pushing back against that trend, however.

John Wood Group, a multinational engineering and consulting business headquartered in Aberdeen, Scotland, has been the subject of take-private attention from Apollo Global Management, but the board has rebuffed several offers as being too low.

I was at a breakfast roundtable yesterday organised by law firm Dechert. The conversation touched on take-privates. On the surface, it would seem like there should be a rush of such deals, with public valuations having taken a hit over the last year and private equity companies flush with dry powder.

But Chris Field, co-head of Dechert’s global private equity practice, said that there was a perception among public investors that private equity is exploiting the differential in valuations.

As long as that perception persists, he said, it will be difficult to do take-privates, adding that Wood Group is “that valuation gap writ large”.

Sealing the deal.

Epiris, via its Epiris Fund III, has acquired LoneStar Group, a global manufacturer and supplier of high-performance fasteners, sealing products, precision-engineered components and pipeline packages.

LoneStar is headquartered in the West Midlands, UK.

This marks the second investment for Fund III following completion of the take-private of Euromoney Institutional Investor in November.

Read more about the LoneStar deal here.

Healthy deal.

WebMD Health, owned by KKR and Temasek-backed Internet Brands Company, has acquired Grupo SANED, a provider of scientific communication and medical education services.

Grupo SANED is based in Madrid, Spain.

WebMD’s acquisition of Grupo SANED is a significant expansion for its flagship global brand Medscape, according to a release.

Check out more on that here.

That’s it from me. As Nina filled in for me yesterday, I’ll be taking her usual Friday spot tomorrow.