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Banks sounded out for Carlyle-backed Focus Media buyout

12 Sep 2012

Banks in Asia are reportedly being approached to put together a debt package of up to $1.7bn to finance the buyout of Shanghai-based advertising company Focus Media Holding, which is being led by a consortium including global buyout giant Carlyle.

The $3.5bn deal, which represents the largest-ever take-private of a New York-listed business, will see Citigroup, Credit Suisse and DBS Bank lead the three-part buyout financing, Basis Point reported.

The package comprises a $950m to $1bn term loan, a $200m to $300m bridge-to-bond facility and a $450m cash bridge, the report said.

The term loan is expected to have a five-year tenor, while the bridge financings will have six- to nine-month maturities, the report added.

Focus Media is said to be seeking an underwriter group of six or seven banks, while terms of the financing are expected to be finalised in about two to three weeks, the report said.

At least eight banks have been approached, not including M&A advisers Citi, Credit Suisse and DBS.

A consortium including Carlyle, FountainVest Partners and CITIC Capital tabled a $3.5bn take-private offer for the company last month.

The group also includes CDH Investments, China Everbright Limited and FMH chairman and chief executive Jason Nanchun Jiang, who holds an 18 per cent stake in the business.

FMH, which operates large monitors that screen advertisements in retail outlets, posted revenues of $729m last year on net income of $200m.

The business counts Muddy Waters, the activist investor spearheaded by outspoken short-seller Carson Block, as one of its shareholders, which has approved the deal.

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