Carlyle wraps up Chesapeake deal

The US firm has bought the packaging business from Irving Place and Oaktree, four years after the company filed for bankruptcy.

The Carlyle Group has acquired Chesapeake, a paper-based packaging maker, in a secondary deal from Irving Place Capital and Oaktree Capital Management

The firm had emerged as the potential front-runner to take over the Anglo-American group alongside the Blackstone Group last May, according to reports, which said the winner would likely pay around £400 million (€470 million, $612 million). No terms were disclosed for the transaction. 

Headquartered in Nottingham, UK, Chesapeake makes premium paper leaflets, labels and cartons for pharmaceutical, confectionery and drinks clients. It employs around 5,000 staff and posted €580 million in sales in 2012. 

Irving Place and Oaktree picked up the business in May 2009 for $485 million, six months after the company, which at the time traded on the New York stock exchange, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Both firms then moved the company to the UK, and beefed it up through a number of bolt-on acquisitions. 

Carlyle intends to build upon the turnaround by further internationalising the brand, introducing new products, and exploring new markets. “We believe the combination of Carlyle’s global presence and network and the strength of the company’s existing footprint and customer relationships will help drive significant growth and new market opportunities in the coming years,” said Eric Kump, a managing director at Carlyle, in a statement. 

The firm will fund the acquisition via Europe Partners III, a mid- and large-cap fund closed in 2006 on €5.35 billion. It is currently raising the vehicle’s successor fund, Europe Partners IV, with a target of €3 billion.