BC Partners seals $350m US deal

In its maiden US-led deal, the London-headquartered private equity firm has acquired a 20% stake in NYSE-listed Office Depot, a global supplier of office equipment.

BC Partners, the London-headquartered private equity firm with €11 billion under management, has made a $350 million investment in Office Depot, an office supplies company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). BCP bought around $350 million of newly created preferred stock.

The investment, the first arranged by BC Partners’ New York office, was made from BC European Capital Fund VIII and buys a stake in Office Depot of around 20 percent. Office Depot will use proceeds from the fundraising for “general corporate purposes”, the firm said in a statement.

Office Depot reported a net loss of $55 million in the first quarter of 2009, compared to earnings of $69 million in the same period of 2008. The company’s shares hit a low of 59 cents in March this year, but have since recovered and were this morning trading at around $4.

Raymond Svider, an ex-investment banker who was promoted to co-chairman of BCP earlier this year, joins the Office Depot board on BCP’s behalf, along with senior partner Jamie Rubin and partner Justin Bateman.

“We think this is the right time to invest in a fundamentally strong global franchise that is well positioned to succeed when the economic climate improves,” said Svider.

BC Partners has one US office in New York and five locations across Europe.

Financial advisers to Office Depot were Peter J Solomon Company and Morgan Stanley, while Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz served as legal advisers. BC Partners were advised by Goldman Sachs and Latham & Watkins.