KKR to buy PagesJaunes for €3.4bn

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a US buyout house, has beaten off competition from a number of other private equity firms, including Texas Pacific Group and Eurazeo, to acquire France Telecom’s 54% stake in French directories business PagesJaunes.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a US private equity firm, has won the race to buy France Telecom’s majority stake in PagesJaunes, a French directories business, after several other private equity investors dropped out of the race.
 
KKR has entered into exclusive negotiations with France Telecom for its 54 percent stake in PagesJaunes. KKR has offered €22 per share, valuing the business at approximately €3.4 billion ($4.4 billion).
 
As a majority owner, KKR would trigger a takeover bid for the whole of PagesJaunes, offering €22.6 per share in an attempt to acquire 95 percent of the share and voting rights.
 
At 10am BST, PagesJaunes shares were trading at €22.05, slightly above the price offered by KKR and Friday’s closing price of €22.04. The business floated on Euronext Paris in 2004 with a market capitalisation of around €4 billion.
 
Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank, and French buyout firm PAI Partners had initially partnered with KKR to bid for France Telecom’s directories business.
 
Texas Pacific Group, a US private equity firm, rival BC Partners, French buyout investors Eurazeo and AXA Private Equity and Vivendi, the French media and telecoms business had all expressed an interest in PagesJaunes.
 
By the end of last week, KKR and Goldman Sachs were competing with Texas Pacific Group and, according to media reports, the bank pulled out of the running over the weekend.
 
This morning, Apax Partners announced that it will acquire France Telecom’s Mobile Satellite Communications business for €60 million.