Battle for Energis heats up

Several private equity firms are expected to make bids this week for the troubled telecom.

Energis, the struggling telecoms group which was put up for sale in February after it warned it might break banking covenants, continues to be the centre of attention of a band of leading private equity investors.

Credit Suisse First Boston, the investment bank, has been grabbing the most recent headlines with a proposed debt-for-equity swap alongside a possible bid mulled by its private equity arm.

CSFB is expected to face competition from private equity firms including telecoms specialist Providence Private Equity, Carlyle, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Permira and Apax Partners, whose effort is led by former Energis CEO Mike Grabiner.

The auction, expected to run for at least another four weeks, is being handled by Goldman Sachs, which has put a £1bn price tag on the company. Energis is remembered for a market capitalisation two years ago of around $12bn, but the group’s share price has collapsed from a 800p peak to just over 2p last Friday.

Energis owes £565m to bondholders and around £600m in bank loans.