Groupe Moniteur enters third PE ownership

The French publisher has been acquired from private equity firm Sagard by London-based Bridgepoint in a tertiary buyout.

Bridgepoint, the London-based European mid-market investor, has acquired Groupe Moniteur in a buyout from Canadian-French private equity firm Sagard. The price paid for the asset was undisclosed.

The completion of the latest deal sees Groupe Moniteur enter its third successive phase of private equity ownership. In March 2004, the business was acquired by Sagard from a private equity consortium comprising Apax Partners, Carlyle Group and Cinven in a €275 million ($334 million) deal. The consortium had inherited Groupe Moniteur as part of its €1.2 billion buyout of Aprovia, the former business publishing unit of Vivendi Universal Publishing, in April 2002.

Groupe Moniteur specialises in providing information and services to the construction and local authority sectors. Its two largest publications – Le Moniteur des Travaux Publics and La Gazette des Communes – have stated circulations of 62,000 and 37,000 respectively. The company also organises trade fairs, offers training courses and databases, and manages 20 websites.

In 2005, the firm had a turnover of €160 million. It currently employs 700 staff, of which 140 are journalists.

Jacques Guy, chairman of Groupe Moniteur, said in a statement that Bridgepoint would help the firm “continue to develop our core activities but also place clear emphasis on services which include exhibitions, training, databases and internet services. High quality standards and editorial integrity will also allow us to develop a strategy of providing more individual and specialist multi-channel information.”

Debt and mezzanine finance for the deal were provided by Calyon, ICG and RBS. Advisers on the deal included: Bain, Deutsche Bank, Linklaters and PWC (for Bridgepoint); Clifford Chance (for Sagard); Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw (for management); and Latham & Watkins (for the debt providers).

The deal represents the third investment made from the Bridgepoint Europe III fund, which closed on €2.5 billion in 2005.