Candover exits RIM

Johnston Press is to acquire Regional Independent Media from Candover in a £560m deal.

Candover Investments, the UK-based provider of equity for European buyouts, has announced the disposal of its northern media group, Regional Independent Media (RIM), for a price of £560m.

Candover led the acquisition of UPN Holdings Limited, the northern newspaper interests of United News & Media Plc, subsequently renamed RIM, in 1998, paying £360m for the business. The investment represented Candover’s first investment from its Candover 1997 fund.  RIM is one of the leading regional newspaper brands in the UK with a portfolio of 53 titles.  Its turnover in the year to 31 December 2001 was £175.3m.

This is the fourth realisation for the Candover 1997 Fund.  During 2001 Candover sold Claverham, the defence and aerospace engineering business, to Hamilton Sundstrand and in 2000 exited from ASW Holdings plc by way of a repayment of convertible loan notes. Since the beginning of 2002, Candover has announced the sale of PII Group Limited, the global pipeline integrity services company, to GE Power Systems.

Commenting on the deal, Colin Buffin, managing director of Candover said: “RIM was the first investment made from the 1997 Fund and represents another successful exit for the Fund. Under Chris Oakley’s leadership, RIM has built up one of the best portfolios of regional newspapers in the UK, making it a very valuable addition for Johnston Press.”

According to Buffin, the deal, which had already been provisionally approved by the Competition Commission, was a fairly straightforward process: 'The deal itself was quite simple to put together once we had the approval of the competition authorities. Both Johnston and Candover were able to see that this was a good deal for all parties.' Candover received legal advice from Macfarlanes and financial advice from Credit Suisse First Boston.

Candover is a leading provider of equity for large European buyouts.  Since its formation in 1980, it has invested in 111 buyouts with an aggregate value of over E16bn. Investment in deals by Candover is provided in two forms, from Candover Investments plc, a publicly quoted investment trust capitalised at over £380m, and from funds managed by Candover Partners, a wholly owned subsidiary. 

Candover is currently raising a new fund, The Candover 2001 Fund, which has raised E1.8bn to date and is targeted to close at E2.5bn in June. This will bring Candover’s total funds managed since inception to over E5bn.