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Candover buys 40% stake in Technogym

The tenth deal of its 2005 fund follows hard on the heels of its court victory in its battle with Halliburton to take oil and gas services business Expro private.

Candover, a European buyout firm, is acquiring a 40 percent stake in Technogym, a designer and manufacturer of branded fitness equipment machinery, from founders Nerio and Pierluigi Alessandri.

It will be the tenth investment to be made from the €3.5 billion ($5.5 billio) Candover 2005 Fund. The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Founded in 1983, Technogym has grown at a rapid pace in recent years serving US and European fitness club chains and it is developing strong relationships in emerging markets such as Asia and the Middle East.

In 2007, Technogym generated a turnover of €385 million, having grown at an average annual growth rate of over 35 percent since its inception, the firm said.

Candover is backing the management team led by Nerio Alessandri, the founding chairman and chief executive, who has led Technogym through its 25-year history. Alessandri started the business from his garage in Gambettola, Italy and has grown become the official provider of training equipment at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Aldo Maccari, director and head of Candover Italy, said: “[Alessandri and his team] remain ambitious in their plans to continue to grow the business in new geographies and new customer segments. As the problem of world obesity increases and governments move from a treatment to a prevention model, health and exercise are becoming a critical focus of the modern world.”

Merrill Lynch International acted as exclusive financial advisor to Candover. Intesa San Paolo is underwriting the debt financing. The company was solely advised by Mediobanca Banca di Credito Finanziario while Nerio and Pierluigi Alessandri were advised by Claudio Costamagna.

Candover won in its takeover of oilfield services company Expro International after a London High Court last week rejected calls for a delay to allow more time to consider a bid from rival trade bidder Halliburton.

The judge, Justice David Richards, approved the scheme of arrangement which clears the way for the Candover-led consortium Umbrellastream to carry out a £1.81 billion (€2.3 billion) takeover, at a share price offer of £16.15.