Navis goes it alone with Mentor Media

The pan-Asian firm based in Kuala Lumpur has bought two partners out of the consortium that acquired the formerly Singapore-listed company in 2005.

Navis Capital Partners has raised its stake in Mentor Media, a business it backed in 2005 together with HSBC Private Equity Asia and Singapore-based Mulberry Asia Fund, which recently changed its name to Southern Capital Group.

Navis originally owned 19 percent in the business. The three-party syndicate acquired the company via a public-to-private transaction for $103 million in a process that commenced in late 2005 and ended in early 2006. Having bought out HSBC and Southern Capital, Navis now owns 85 percent of the company.

The transaction is understood to have come about because HSBC and Southern Capital, which are both raising new funds, were seeking realisations from some of their existing investments.

CVC Asia Pacific is thought to also have shown interest in the company and to have made a conditional offer subject to due diligence. However, Navis felt there was more juice to be squeezed from the investment and decided to up its stake significantly.

The transfer of shares to Navis is understood to have made the exiting investors 2.5 times cash and a 70-plus percent IRR in less than two years.

Headquartered in Singapore, Mentor Media is an electronics manufacturing services company which has facilities in China,Taiwan and Korea.

Navis recently closed its fifth fund on $1 billion and will use it to finance the secondary transaction. The new fund is already 20 percent invested, Nicholas Bloy, a founding partner of Navis, told PEI Asia.

Prior to injecting more capital into Mentor Media, Navis Asia Fund V had completed two other investments. In Australia, Navis partner Mark Dutton led an investment in National Lifestyle Village, a developer and operator of affordable communities for people aged 45 to 65 in Western Australia.

In Singapore, Bloy and his colleague David Ireland led an investment in ECO, a hazardous waste management company. Bloy said ECO had caught Navis' attention when the private equity firm was conducting due diligence on another company in the same industry, which ultimately went to HSBC Private Equity Asia.