BoA Private Equity buys Finnish publisher

Bank of America's private equity division has agreed to pay E121m to acquire a 93 per cent stake in listed Finnish publisher Janton.

Banc of America Equity Partners, the private equity unit of the US bank, has completed its latest acquisition in the Europe, acquiring Helsinki-listed publishing group Janton Oyj in a public to private deal that values the company at E121m.


Banc of America Equity Partners Europe [BAEPE], the firm’s European subsidiary said in a statement that it had agreed to pay E13 per share for the business. Sanoma Corporation, Janton’s largest shareholder, has agreed to sell its 2.1m shares in the company. In total, the firm is acquiring 9.3m shares, representing 93 per cent of the firm’s equity.


Janton publishes regional Finnish newspapers and owns a direct marketing company. The firm reported turnover of E53m in 2002 and operating profit of E12m. The transaction is still subject to due diligence, so is expected to complete by the end of the year.


The investment comes from Bank of America Equity Partners Europe’s most recent fund, which held a final close in July 2001, raising E590m. The group, set up in 1996, employs fifteen investment professionals and has made direct investments in more than 20 companies, including ETR Group, Porcelanatto, Riskclick and Kabel NRW. In addition to London, the group has offices in Frankfurt, Milan and Warsaw.


The unit’s most recent European deal took place in April when the firm acquired a majority equity stake in French automotive precision mechanics and bar-turning company Enricau. The financial terms of this transaction were not disclosed.


BAEPE invests in growth capital and mid-market buyouts and selective startups across Europe, investing in the communications, media, specialty manufacturing, consumer, distribution and logistics, business services and outsourcing sectors. BAEPE says it looks to make equity investments of between E20 and E100m in buyout and development capital opportunities, aiming to exit investments within a three to seven-year period.