Eurazeo picks up Elis for €2.28bn

PAI Partners has sold uniform rental agency Elis to French-listed Eurazeo, after owning the company for six years. The two groups have been in exclusive negotiations for two weeks.

Listed French private equity group Eurazeo has bought uniform rental agency Elis from rival buyout firm PAI partners for €2.28 billion ($1.82 million).

Paris-listed Eurazeo, in conjunction with its co-investment fund, will invest around €500 million of equity. The management of ELIS will also invest in the acquisition.

The two firms have been in exclusive negotiations since July 24.

ELIS rents, distributes and cleans various items for the service industry including uniforms, flat linen and toilet equipment, as well as “well-being” equipment such as espresso machines. It has revenues of around €950 million, with steady growth over the past 40 years, and it employs 13,000 people across Europe – around 2000 more employees than when PAI bought the company.

A Eurazeo spokesperson said: “Elis operates in a fast growing market as currently many institutions and businesses do not outsource linen and uniforms, although more and more are recognising the benefits of doing so.”

Eurazeo was reportedly also interested in buying the business in 2001, but lost out to PAI. The French firm’s winning bid included what was then the largest mezzanine tranche seen on a European deal.