EC clears Atle deal

Atle shareholders will decide whether to accept the £580m takeover put forward by 3i and Ratos in February this year.

The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Swedish private equity company Atle by 3i Group and Ratos, another Swedish private equity firm.

3i and Ratos made a £580m takeover offer for Atle in February this year through Woodrose, a vehicle set up for the offer. 3i is effectively paying a total of SEK 5,224m (£363m) for 85 directly held investments in Sweden and a 50 per cent interest in a further portfolio of 19 investments held jointly with Ratos.

Atle shareholders are expected to vote on the proposed takeover on April 19. The deal is conditional on 90 per cent approval. A spokesperson at 3i told PEO that the firm has already secured 31.5 per cent irrevocable approval from shareholders and that as well as being recommended by Atle’s board, the offer has been well received.

If Atle accepts the bid, its portfolio of just over 100 companies will be divided between 3i and Ratos in a 38:62 ratio by value.

In addition, one wholly owned investment and one minority position in a listed company will be transferred to Ratos, and a large number of investments, mainly minority positions, will be transferred to 3i. Completion of the deal is conditional on Atle shareholders agreeing to spin off their stake in Studsvik, a supplier of products and services to the nuclear-power industry.

A European Commission statement said: “The Commission's investigation detected only one affected market, namely the wholesale market for water, heating and plumbing products in Sweden and Norway. But this small overlap did not appear to raise any concerns.”