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PAI Partners has finally agreed to buy out its consortium partners, Cinven and MidOcean Partners, from United Biscuits. It has teamed up with Blackstone and is paying an enterprise value of £1.6bn. The vendors, who invested in UB in 2001, say they have generated a return of 2.2 times the cost of their investment. Our European M&A correspondent, Lina Saigol, says the negotiations were tense and ran well into the night.
Those interested in the finer points of private equity should read Roberto Quarta’s comment piece in the FT today, in which he says the industry is going to have to become a little less private and rely less on financial engineering. Roberto sees the debate from both sides: he is a partner at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, a board member at BAE Systems and chairman of BBA Group.
Another deal, however, is off. Northgate Information Solutions says its takeover talks with an unnamed suitor have ceased. The Times said earlier this month that Blackstone and Silver Lake Partners were among those considering a bid.
FT Alphaville is running some fun stories about Big Bang and wants to know what you miss about the City of 20 years ago. Post a comment. Stand by, also, for our banking editor’s huge, authoritative (and slightly contrarian) analysis of what has changed in tomorrow’s paper – and for more on FT.com tomorrow. In the meantime, read Nigel Lawson’s comment piece, in which he says we must not take London’s position for granted (something Hugh Freedberg at Euronext Liffe will agree with). And check out John Kay’s piece from earlier this week, which argued that, ironically, “the deal whose purpose was to keep regulators out of the Square Mile would give them a larger role than ever before”. Peter Meinertzhagen was bemoaning some of what was lost at Big Bang.
We hope to get news later of the latest Goldman Sachs partnership round. We’ll update you as soon as we hear.
Misys shares up today. This follows news this week that the company which, until 10 days ago, employed Misys’s newly appointed chief executive, has taken a 4.4 per cent stake. The company, ValueAct Capital, is run by a former Fidelity man, Jeff Ubben. Very odd.
First Choice is to scale back or close smaller businesses in Europe and outsource some functions in the UK, as the travel group attempts to counter stiff competition in the short-haul market.
Dubai Energy is behind the mystery bid for Premier Oil, The Telegraph says this morning. The same paper says Countrywide has at last accepted 3i’s £900m takeover offer. As of midday, there was no announcement from either company.
The marvellous story of Aleksey Vayner’s monstrous video CV rumbles on. This morning we are carrying a letter from Dan Williamson, head of content at a company specialising in interactive content called Cimex, saying: “Many younger users may be in danger of damaging their own ‘employability’ hundreds of times over with blog entries that would horrify even the most progressive of human resources departments.”
By the way, those of you who read our fashion correspondent’s piece on the grey debate today might like to know that here on the UK companies desk we are all in grey except Mick Kavanagh, who is in black and white, although the way he separates his colours, it might as well be grey.
Rumour of the Day:Whitbread shares are up on renewed speculation that a bidder, possibly Starwood, is stalking it.