Apax takes 50% stake in Cinven’s CBR

Apax Partners has agreed to acquire half the equity of German closing retailer CBR, the €500m turnover company bought outright by private equity house Cinven in October.

London-headquartered private equity firms Apax Partners and Cinven will be equal shareholders in CBR, a German retailer specialising in women’s fashion.

CBR was acquired by Cinven in October. The valuation of that transaction was not disclosed, but people close to the deal said at the time CBR had an enterprise value of approximately €1 billion ($1.25 billion).

In a press release issued today, Apax announced it and Cinven will be 'equal partners with equal shares' in the company, adding that the syndication was subject to approval by the EU Commission.

CBR owns the Street One, Cecil and One Touch brands and has more than 700 staff in 15 countries. It is projecting 2004 turnover to exceed €500 million, according to a press release.

Commenting on a background basis on Apax’s joining Cinven as a shareholder, a London-based source familiar with the deal said speed of execution was an important factor in both Cinven’s original purchase of the business as well as in the subsequent syndication of equity to an additional investor. “CBR’s management team are pushing through 12 collections a year. They did not have time to deal with a drawn-out transaction process,” the source said.

Deutsche Bank and UBS advised on the transaction. Funding was arranged by The Royal Bank of Scotland and HypoVereinsbank.

Peter Gangstead, head of German operations, led the process for Cinven. Mirko Meyer-Schönherr, a Munich-based director, represented Apax. Prior to CBR, Mirko Meyer-Schönherr spent 12 months working on the firm’s public-to-private of fashion retailer New Look in the UK.

Apax already has a stable of clothing businesses in its portfolio. The firm, which is currently in the process of raising the largest fund in its history with a €4.5 billion target, is also an investor in Calvin Klein (US) and Morgan International (France).