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GCS, Hony enter race for Dexia asset arm as Permira drops out

24 Jul 2012

European private equity firm Permira appears to have missed out in the race to buy the asset management arm of Franco-Belgian lender Dexia.

Permira was believed to be the last buyout house interested in bidding for the investment arm, but its interest seems to have cooled ahead of the final bidders being announced.

Private equity firms GCS Capital and Hony Capital are believed to be teaming up to make a late play for the business, according to Bloomberg.

Macquarie Group and the New York Life Insurance Company are also believed to make up the final three bidders.

Buyout houses Advent International, CVC and Warburg Pincus were believed to have tabled offers earlier this year but have since lost interest in the business.

Dexia had to be bailed out by the French and Belgian governments last year and has since sold Banque International a Luxembourg, its half of RBC Dexis Investor Services and is attempting to sell Turkish lender Denizbank, Reuters said.

Final bids from the interested parties were expected in the middle of June, with Dexia hoping to have chosen a buyer before the end of last month.

Dexia AM said its assets under management rose to €79.3bn in the first quarter of 2012 from €78bn in the previous quarter.

Earlier this month Permira has agreed to sell Italian fashion house Valentino to the Qatari royal family for about $730m.

Permira picked up a controlling interest in Valentino Fashion Group for €5.3bn in 2007, but was forced to split off menswear brand Hugo Boss into a separate entity following the global financial crisis.

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