Charterhouse refinances Saga ahead of flotation

The London-based buyout firm is understood to have recouped its equity investment in over-50s leisure and finance company Saga.

Charterhouse, a European buyout firm, has carried out a refinancing of portfolio company Saga, a UK travel, leisure and financial services business aimed at the over 50s. Saga was acquired by Charterhouse in a £1.35 billion (€2 billion; $2.55 billion) transaction in 2004.
According to reports, Charterhouse has recouped its entire equity investment in a refinancing carried out by investment bank Merrill Lynch.
Saga was purchased from the De Haan family with approximately £500 million of equity and £880 million of debt, the latter provided by Merrill Lynch, HBoS and Lehman Brothers.
Charterhouse is understood to have paid off the remaining debt in the current transaction and raised £500 million of fresh debt on more favourable terms.
Charterhouse is expected to float Saga on the London Stock Exchange for approximately £2 billion.
Charterhouse beat off competition from Candover, JPMorgan Partners, HgCapital, Cinven and Apax Partners to acquire Saga in a deal which is believed to have made £1.1 billion for Saga founder and chairman Roger de Haan.

Charterhouse was not immediately available for comment on the refinancing.