Wood Group rebuffs Apollo offers; Syntagma in steel talks; ECI exits leasing firm

John Wood Group is a multinational engineering and consulting business that works in markets including petrochemicals and refining.

Good morning Eurohubsters, Craig McGlashan here with Thursday’s Dealflow.

Take-privates attempts are in vogue right now, with engineering firm John Wood Group rejecting a series of advances from Apollo Global Management. Elsewhere, we look at Syntagma Capital entering talks to take over a steel producer, ECI Partners’ sale of an electric vehicle leasing firm, an SaaS play by the Riverside Company, a freight add-on by a Blackstone portfolio firm and finally a cloud deal involving Mayfair Equity Partners.

Private bid. We’ve seen a lot of US private equity interest in taking UK companies private lately and it seems that appetite is yet to be sated.

Aberdeen, Scotland-based John Wood Group, a multinational engineering and consulting business that works in markets including petrochemicals and refining, confirmed last night that it had received three approaches from Apollo Global Management to take the firm private.

The most recent approach was on 26 January and offered 230p per share, valuing the company at around £1.6 billion ($1.9 billion; €1.8 billion). The Wood board had unanimously rejected each offer as they “significantly undervalued the repositioned group’s prospects”.

Apollo must now either make a firm offer or announce that it does not intend to make an offer by close of business on 22 March.

Wood’s share price on the London Stock Exchange had been in a 140p-160p range since the start of the year, but shot up to just over 200p this morning.

Apollo declined to comment when approached by PE Hub Europe.

Other recent take-private moves by US private equity firms for UK businesses include Providence Equity’s approach for conference firm Hyve Group this week and Energy Capital Partners’ acquisition of waste management firm Biffa earlier this year.

Elsewhere in takeover news, exchange operator Euronext has made an offer of €8.75 per share for fund platform Allfunds. Private equity firm Hellman & Friedman is one of the main shareholders in Allfunds.

Steel. Syntagma Capital has entered into talks with Eramet to acquire Erasteel, a global firm in the conventional and powder metallurgy of high-speed steels used for high performance machining, drilling and cutting tools.

Erasteel is headquartered in Paris, France. The firm employs around 850 employees across its six sites in France, Sweden, and China. It reported around €275 million in revenues in 2022.

“Despite a very challenging M&A market, Erasteel represents our second deal in 2023 and our third deal in the last six months, reflecting our ability to provide sellers with speed and certainty,“ said Sebastien Kiekert Le Moult, managing partner at Syntagma.

Read more about Syntagma’s plans for Erasteel here.

Leasing out. ECI Partners has completed the sale of Tusker to Lloyds Banking Group.

Tusker is a UK-based vehicle management and leasing company that provides electric vehicles and ultra-low emission vehicles through salary sacrifice schemes. The firm is based in Watford, England.

Find out the enterprise value at the sale and ECI Partners’ return on its investment in our full coverage here.

For more on fleet management, check out our recent interview with Battery Ventures about its acquisition of Vimcar and Avrios.

SaaS. The Riverside Company has partnered with the founder team of Germany-based Gastromatic, a SaaS provider of workforce management software products for small and medium sized businesses operating in shift-based industries.

Gastromatic, headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, was founded in 2014 by a team of five co-founders who will continue to lead the firm.

Gastromatic’s software platform provides integration possibilities with adjacent systems such as point of sales systems and property management systems, according to a release.

Read more on the deal here.

Freight. IBS Software, backed by Blackstone, has completed the acquisition of Accenture Freight and Logistics Software (AFLS).

AFLS offers technology platforms to help airline and ocean transportation companies manage their freight operations and grow through digital transformation and innovation. AFLS was a subsidiary of Accenture.

Find out more about Blackstone and IBS’s plans for AFLS here.

In the cloud. Nasstar, backed by Mayfair Equity Partners, has acquired Colibri Digital, a high-growth enterprise cloud solutions firm.

Colibri Digital is an AWS and Azure partner delivering specialist technology consultancy services. The firm is headquartered in Welwyn, England.

Read our full coverage here.

That’s it from me. Nina Lindholm will be with you tomorrow.