PAI in E1.5bn secondary buyout

The French LBO house has bought Elis, the textile rental company, in a deal that marks a strong exit for BC Partners.

PAI, the newly independent LBO specialist that bought itself out of BNP Paribas earlier this year, has purchased Elis, the textile rental business active in ten European countries, for E1.5bn.

PAI is going to work with CIBC World Markets and Credit Agricole to finance the deal. A source close to the private equity firm confirmed the price that PAI agreed to pay for the business, but declined to comment on how much debt will be put on the company.

Interest in the auction was strong. Haniel Textile Services looked at Elis as a potential trade buyer while, according to the Daily Deal, Apax Partners, Advent International and Eurazeo were among the financial investors keen on the business.

Elis was put up for sale by BC Partners, the European buyout specialist, which had first acquired the business in 1997 for an undisclosed sum. BC Partners was advised by Goldman Sachs.

PAI’s equity contribution to the deal comes from the E1.8bn fund it closed earlier this year. The firm, which manages E6bn in total, owns several industrial assets including United Biscuits, Beaufour Ipsen and Elf Argataz.

JP Morgan acted as PAI’s financial advisor. Ashurst Morris Crisp in Paris provided legal counsel.