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CVC agrees surprise €3.1bn deal for Charterhouse’s Ista stake

18 Apr 2013

Ista meterUK private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has agreed a surprise deal to pick up the 76 per cent of German metering company Ista it does not already own in a €3.1bn deal.

Fellow buyout firm Charterhouse, Ista’s majority owner, was believed to be close to scrapping the sale after lacklustre interest.

But CVC has stepped in with an offer which will see it gain a majority stake, with Ista management retaining an interest in the company according to a statement from the business.

BC Partners and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan had made the only other offer for German metering technology specialist Ista according to the FT, which cited three people with knowledge of the matter.

Buyout house BC was also said to have provided the only interest for the firms’ exit of French catering company Elior, with Charterhouse hoping to pick up at least €6bn for the pair.

But those sales were both in danger of being pulled as the offers were expected to fall short of that figure.

CVC partner Marc Strobel said, “We have been successfully invested in Ista for the last ten years and look forward to maintaining our relationship with the company as it continues to implement its growth strategy in the years ahead.

“Ista does not only have an excellent position with outstanding growth prospects in the field of energy efficiency but also has a very experienced management team and highly dedicated employees.”

Charterhouse acquired Ista for €2.4bn including €2.1bn of debt in 2007 from CVC, which later reacquired a 24 per cent stake.

It bought Elior in a €2.5bn take-private deal in 2006 alongside founder Robert Zolade, who created the company with Francis Markus in 1991.

Cancelling the exits would come at a bad time for Charterhouse, which is attempting to recoup capital ahead of an expected fundraise this year.

The buyout firm last raised a €4bn vehicle in 2009, and is believed to be considering a similar target this time around.

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