Candover clinches third Belgian deal

The London firm has acquired a 60 percent stake in Belgian publisher Bureau van Dijk for an undisclosed sum, its second European acquisition in the last three weeks.

European private equity firm Candover has bought a 60 percent stake in Belgian publishing house Bureau van Dijk Electronic Publishing (BvD) for an undisclosed sum. A spokesperson for Candover confirmed that the transaction was completed last week.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. A Belgian newspaper report valued the deal at €300 million ($387 million), but the Candover spokesperson declined to confirm this figure as an accurate valuation of BvD.

BvD Management will retain a 40 percent stake in the business going forward.

Brussels-headquartered BvD is an electronic publisher of business information including company details and performance figures. The firm has 230 staff working in 15 offices and generated sales of €70 million in 2003.

The transaction was led for Candover by London-based director Brian Mercer and funded from the Candover 2001 Fund, which is now over 60 percent invested.

The deal is Candover’s third acquisition in Belgium following the €625 million purchase of hygiene products Ontex in 2002 and the 1999 £45 million investment in diamond tools manufacturer Diamant Boart, which the firm realised for £115 million in 2002.

More recently, Candover acquired Swedish sports utility transportation company Thule AB for €465 million in a secondary purchase from Stockholm-headquartered buyout investor EQT in late October.

In September, Candover, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, reported a 9.8 percent increase in interim pre-tax profits to £12.3 million, boosted by five major exits in the six month period, including the sales of exhibition venue Earls Court & Olympia and the sale of Irish packaging group Clondalkin.