Clessidra, Bain to sell Italian bank carve-out Cerved for €1.13bn


milan_lrgMilan-based private equity firm Clessidra and global buyout giant Bain Capital have agreed to sell Cerved, the Italian corporate credit checking specialist carved out from a clutch of Italian banks four years ago, to CVC Capital Partners for €1.13bn.

Although the respective spokespersons for Clessidra and Bain Capital declined to comment on the firms’ return on investment, reports suggest the pair stand to make 2.7-times their initial investment.

Clessidra and Bain bought Cerved in 2008 for €530m – a snip compared to the €800m to €850m price tag that was originally sought for the business.

CVC is reported to have outbid European buyout firm Permira for the business, while London-based BC Partners is also understood to have expressed an interest.

Although Cerved’s history dates back to 1974, the business as it stands today was created through the integration of seven companies between 2008 and 2011.

The group – which posted revenues of €292m last year and employs 1,020 people – provides credit and business information to more than 30,000 clients, including 90 per cent of Italian banks and over 80 per cent of Italy’s top 1,000 companies.

Cerved CEO Gianandrea De Bernardis said the company’s plan under CVC’s ownership is to continue pursuing the growth of the business both organically and through acquisitions.

Giampiero Mazza, head of CVC in Italy, added, “Cerved is a high quality business that has demonstrated the ability to grow through a most challenging economic environment.

“Under Bain Capital and Clessidra, Gianandrea and his team did a fantastic job in transitioning the company from a bank-owned captive provider of credit information into an independent leader across the banking and corporate markets.”

The completion of the deal is subject to customary competition clearances.

CVC was advised by Deutsche Bank, Lazard, Eidos Partners, Chiomenti, Kirkland & Ellis, Bain and Co, Ernst & Young and Facchini Rossi Scarioni.

Bain Capital and Clessidra were advised by HSBC, Banca Intesa, Gattai Minoli & Partners, Kirkland & Ellis, PwC, McKinsey & Co, Capital Market Initiatives, Pirola Pennuto, Zei & Associati and Vitali Romagnoli Piccardi e Associati.

Crédit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and HSBC have provided committed financing for the deal.

Bain and Clessidra bought served in December 2008 following a sale process that began in June the same year, when vendors UniCredit, Intesa Sanpaolo, Monte dei Paschi di Siena and France’s BNP Paribas initially put the business up for sale.

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