KKR-led consortium trims offer for Vendex

A private equity consortium led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has reduced its offer for Dutch retailer Vendex from €1.43bn to €1.40bn following disappointing trading performance at the target company.

In a statement Vendex, the non-food retailer, said VDXK Acquisition – a consortium comprising KKR, AlpInvest Partners and Change Capital Partners – had lowered its offer to €15.4 in cash per share from €16. The company said it was recommending the new terms to investors.

The statement said: “Continued difficult macro economic conditions have resulted in a slow start to the year. This is expected to result in operating profits for the first quarter, which has historically been the least important quarter of the year in terms of profit, being below last year’s first quarter.”

The reduced offer resulted from a poor retail environment and market outlook in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany and the negative impact of this on the company’s recent performance and expected speed of recovery of some of its businesses.

Vendex said it expected to reach definitive agreement with the consortium on the terms of the offer over the next few weeks and that it expected the offer to be finalised in mid-May 2004. By 4.16pm GMT today, Vendex shares had fallen 2.27 percent in trading to €15.1 from an opening price of €15.45 on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. 

In a competitive auction, the consortium beat off competition from a joint offer from UK private equity houses Cinven and Permira. French investor PAI was also reported to have been an interested party.

At the time of the initial announcement of the deal last month, a spokesperson for lead investor KKR said the consortium was “uniquely suited” to the deal due to a combination of KKR’s financial capabilities, Change Capital’s expertise in the retail sector and AlpInvest’s knowledge of the Dutch market.

Vendex operates 15 store formats and some 1,800 outlets in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain. It is the owner of the flagship Bijenkorf department store in Amsterdam’s Dam Square.