CVC inserts €1.2bn into vending machines

Charterhouse is selling vending machine operator Autobar to CVC, but will keep a minority stake as the new owners look for bolt-on opportunities.

Charterhouse Capital Partners has sold a majority stake in Autobar Group, a vending machine operator, to rival private equity house CVC Capital Partners. Financial details were not disclosed, but multiple media outlets have pegged the transaction value at €1.2 billion. CVC declined to comment and Charterhouse was unavailable at press time.

Vending machines: Money goes in

Autobar operates in 11 European countries, servicing around 100,000 customers. It recorded sales of €569 million in the year to March 2010. One of its main European competitors, N&W Global Vending, was acquired by Barclays Private Equity and Investcorp in 2008 for €800 million from Argan Capital and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity.

“We have had a great six years with Autobar, working to create Europe’s number one vending player by profits,” said Stuart Simpson, a partner at Charterhouse, in a statement, adding that the firm would remain minority shareholders in the business.

The two financial sponsors described Autobar as “an exciting platform for growth within the European vending industry over the next five years”, adding that acquisitions were being considered.

This is not the first time the two buyout houses have sat on opposite sides of a secondary buyout deal. In 2007, CVC sold Ista, a German energy meter company, to Charterhouse for €2.4 billion.

Financing for the Autobar deal was led by BNP Paribas, HSBC and Nomura as mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners. CVC Cordatus, CVC’s asset management affiliate, joined the financing at signing as a cornerstone investor.

CVC Cordatus was started in 2006 and has issued €53 billion of debt across 57 global transactions since its inception. Earlier this month it hired Simon Hood, a veteran of the European leverage finance market, as managing director, investor relations.

In related news, CVC is currently in talks to partner with Actividades de Construccion y Servicios in acquiring a 25.8 percent stake in infrastructure group Abertis for €3 billion, according to Spanish newspaper Expansion.