Endless takes over Electra’s office supplies company

The UK turnaround specialist has bought a 71% stake in Vasanta Group, which has had its £200m debt burden slashed by 75%.

UK-based turnaround specialist Endless has gained control of Vasanta Group, a beleaguered Yorkshire-based office supplies company formerly owned by private equity firm Electra Partners.

As part of the deal Vasanta – which turns over £500 million (€577 million; $819 million) a year – will receive an injection of £30 million, with more than £20 million coming from Endless, and have its debt burden reduced from £200 million to £50 million. Endless, which is investing from its £164 million second fund, will own 71 percent of the group, with the remainder owned by the banking syndicate of The Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Banks and Alliance & Leicester.

Electra Partners wrote off its £40 million investment in the company earlier this year.

“The restructuring provides a solution to a balance sheet that was over-leveraged at the top of the M&A market,” said Steve Ellis, a partner at the firm’s administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Endless, which tends to make unleveraged investments in stressed or distressed companies, has now made seven investments from its latest fund, including the recent acquisition of discount bookshop chain The Works and the carve-out of Crown Paints from Dutch conglomerate Azko Nobel.

In related news Office Depot, a listed US-based competitor of Vasanta, earlier this month received $350 million investment from European buyout house BC Partners. The investment bought BC Partners a stake of around 20 percent in the business.