First up we’ve got some exit multiples for Archimed and Warburg Pincus on their exit from Polyplus to fill you in on, before we take a deep dive into what could be the endgame in Triton and Bain’s battle to buy listed Finnish construction firm Caverion.
Next we have a final offer from Apollo Global Management in a take-private bid of its own, for Scottish engineering firm John Wood Group.
Then deals-wise, we have an EQT portfolio company buying a tele-diagnostic firm from ECI Partners (plus ECI’s RoI on the deal), Quadrivio Group’s exit from a sports merchandise retailer, including some EBITDA and turnover numbers, news of Cerea Partners’ plan to buy a food supplement ingredient provider, the exit numbers on a double sale by Foresight Group and a merger of two law firms, one with Oakley Capital backing.
A quick update on Archimed and Warburg Pincus’ €2.4 billion exit from Polyplus, a provider of upstream technologies for cell and gene therapies, to Sartorius Stedim Biotech late last week.
Sources close to the deal expect Warburg to realise almost 5x on its initial investment over an approximately three-year hold. We’ll also have a more in-depth look at the Warburg exit in a few days, with PE Hub Europe’s Nina Lindholm interviewing managing director Ruoxi Chen.
Archimed, meanwhile, made a roughly 300x multiple on invested capital from the remaining stake in its original fund that had invested in Polyplus, and a 4.5-5x return for its continuation vehicle.
The board of listed Finnish construction firm Caverion this morning withdrew its recommendation for shareholders to accept an offer from a Bain Capital-led consortium and unanimously recommended a rival bid from Triton Partners, confirming something it had signalled a couple of weeks ago. The decision came after the Bain group’s ‘right-to-match’ period ended yesterday without an improved offer.
Long-time readers will know we’ve been covering this story in some depth and for those following from the start, this looks like quite a remarkable turnaround.
Triton’s bid had been for €8.95 per share but it cut that to €8.75 yesterday afternoon after Caverion paid a 20c dividend in late March (Bain had done similarly, cutting its bid by 20c to €7.80 now or €8.30 in nine months after the tender offer completes).
Shareholders will likely be happy in any case. The original bid from Bain in November was for €7 a share, before Triton came in January with an €8 per share offer. Caverion had been trading around €4.20-€4.60 in the month before Bain announced its plans.
Even though Triton’s offers had usually been higher than Bain’s, the Bain consortium had warned that Triton’s offer might get snarled up in antitrust controls due to the latter’s ownership of Swedish company Assemblin, a concern that the Caverion board shared.
But in its latest statement, the Caverion board said that it considered Triton’s offer price to be “sufficiently higher” than the Bain offer to “outweigh the higher risks included in Triton’s offer”. Caverion has now entered into a cooperation agreement with Triton and terminated its agreement with Bain.
“As a result of a thorough assessment, the board has decided to recommend the Triton offer,” said a statement from Caverion chairman Mats Paulsson. “We welcome Triton’s commitment to Caverion through a 9.97 percent shareholding, which is expected to increase to 29.91 percent once the conditional share purchases have been completed. Triton has an impressive track record in building successful businesses. Our view is that Triton can contribute to the development of Caverion’s business for the benefit of our customers, partners and employees.”
Wood you agree?
Sticking with take-privates, Apollo Global Management has made a fifth – and final – offer for John Wood Group, a multinational engineering and consulting business headquartered in Aberdeen, Scotland.
This time Apollo is offering 240p per share, which would value the total outstanding equity at £1.66 billion ($2.07 billion; €1.89 billion). The offer was up 3p on Apollo’s most recent a month ago, which the Wood board was “minded to reject” as too low.
Apollo said that the new offer was a 59 percent premium to the closing share price of 151p, before Wood announced Apollo’s interest, and a 20 percent premium to the first proposal, of 200p. Apollo added that making a firm intention to offer – which it must do by 19 April – would require completion of due diligence and the unanimous and unconditional recommendation of the final proposal by the Wood board.
The Wood board said that it had noted Apollo’s latest announcement.
Whether or not the board accept this latest offer, the difference so far in Apollo’s versus the board’s idea of the worth of the company was a “valuation gap writ large”, Chris Field, co-head of legal firm Dechert’s global private equity practice, said at a breakfast meeting in London a few weeks ago.
There was a perception among public investors that private equity was exploiting a differential in valuations, he said.
Wood released its 2022 annual report in late March, showing revenue of $5.4 billion and adjusted EBITDA of $385 million.
EQT-backed Evidia has acquired 4ways, a UK and European tele-diagnostic company, from ECI Partners.
4ways is headquartered in Hertfordshire, England.
ECI Partners first invested in 4ways in 2018. This acquisition represents a full realisation for ECI, generating a 2.7x return.
4ways has seen consistent growth by more than 20 percent per annum since ECI invested in the company, according to a release.
Leaving the field
Quadrivio Group’s private equity vehicle, Industry 4.0 Fund, will sell EPI, an Italian company that sells sports merchandise for Serie A football clubs, to Fanatics.
EPI is headquartered in Milan, Italy. EPI will soon be re-branded as Fanatics Italy.
Quadrivio Group acquired EPI in November 2020. EPI has seen an increase in sales by about 125 percent in two and a half years. Turnover has risen from €20 million to €45 million, while EBITDA rose from €2 million to €4.5 million,
Quadrivio’s sale of EPI is the first exit for Industry 4.0 Fund.
Cerea Partners has entered negotiations to acquire a majority stake in Polaris, alongside management, current shareholders Seventure Partners and Picama, and French regional investors.
Polaris is a producer of ingredients for the food supplements, nutraceutical and infant nutrition sectors. The firm, based in Quimper, France, has a turnover of €30 million.
“The development of a sustainable Omega 3 offer from microalgae is part of new consumption habits and is at the heart of the Cerea Capital III fund’s investment strategy as well as the firm’s social corporate responsibility approach,” said Antoine Peyronnet, managing partner at Cerea Partners.
Foresight Group has announced its exit from Datapath Group and Innovation Consulting Group, which trades as GovGrant.
Datapath, based in Derby, UK, is a company in the design and development of video wall, multiscreen displays, and control room services.
GovGrant is a research and development tax adviser based in Hertfordshire, England.
Foresight’s exit from Datapath generated an 11.7x return and an IRR of 38 percent, while its exit from GovGrant generated a 4.4x return and an IRR of 24 percent, according to a release.
Two legal tech companies, vLex and Fastcase, are merging.
vLex is a portfolio company of Oakley Capital.
As part of the merger, Oakley Capital and Bain Capital Credit are investing in the combined business, which will be called vLex Group.
vLex Group will maintain its Barcelona, Washington, DC and Miami headquarters plus its other offices in the US, Europe, the UK, Asia and Latin America.