Candover Takes a Forced Timeout

April 7, 2009

Pan-European buyout house Candover is suspending investing from the fund it raised in 2008 for the next six months in order to “explore options for it’s future”. At this point, it’s options seem most likely to be either a competitor buying out the firm, or to simply wind-down Candover altogether with a skeleton staff selling off the portfolio companies. If it were to end, it would be a fizzle of an finale to a firm that was founded back in 1980 and listed on the exchange in 1984. 

To say Candover has had a tough go of things since the start of the financial crisis would be a horrendous simplification of the situation. Cracks began to show after the company failed to make good on its €1 billion commitment to the €3 billion 2008 fund. It’s already written down the value of its portfolio by more than one-third (from £483.6 million in December 2007 to £310 million), and six of the firm’s 22 investments have been written down to zero. 

Speaking of the 2008 fund, the only investment it’s made so far is the £1.6 billion acquisition of oil services company Expro International in April 2008 (have to point out that this deal was made jointly with Candover’s 2005 fund). From here on out, LPs will pay management fees based only on the Expro investment rather than the full value of the fund’s commitments.

On a positive note (sort of), Candover’s share price rose 17% on announcement of the six-month hiatus.


Q4 2008 unquote” European Private Equity Barometer

January 23, 2009

The unquote” Q4 2008 Private Equity Barometer sponsored by Candover is out, and as expected, the news is not much different than the unquote”/Bridgepoint report on 2008 European buyout market.  

Total value of European private equity-backed transactions in the final quarter of 2008 dropped to €8 billion, a 59% decline from Q3.  It is also the lowest quarterly value since Q2 1997.

Q4 was merely the cherry on top of a very sour cake that was 2008 as final year figures for the total private equity market in Europe showed a remarkable drop in value, with 2008’s total of  €87 billion representing a near 59% decline against the record total of €198 billion in deals seen in ’07. 

The barometer shows that buyout values in the quarter fell further, by 61%, which also happens to be how far European buyout values plummeted for the full year to a grand total of €73 billion.

Here’s the barometer to read:

Atos Origin Rejects Candover Offer

September 26, 2008

For Erwan: French IT service provider Atos Origin has rejected a €1.6B takeover approach by Candover for its Atos Worldwide unit, which specialises in electronic payment systems.

Since the offered was received, Centaurus Capital has halved its stake in Atos and now controls a combined 16.71% interest along with fellow hedge fund Pardus. Meanwhile PAI Partners has upped its stake to 22.61% and has become the company’s largest individual shareholder. PAI was the founding shareholder of Atos when the company was created through the merger of Axime and Sligos, with the investor holding 100% of the company until its listing. The private equity firm also oversaw Atos’ merger with Origin in October 2000.