PAI Partners launches €1.24bn Vivarte PTP

The Paris-headquartered private equity house has agreed a deal with the French shoe and clothing retailer’s majority shareholders to buy their 68 percent stake.

PAI Partners, the European private equity firm headed by Amaury de Seze, is set to undertake its second public to private deal in as many months, having reached agreement with the majority shareholders of French retailer Vivarte to take the business private.

The French shoe and clothing retailer said yesterday that shareholders holding 68 percent of its capital were in exclusive talks with the private equity investment group to cede control of the company.

 

The offer, pitched at €40 per share, values the business at €1.24 billion ($1.56 billion).

 

Vivarte’s three principal shareholders are Nathaniel Rothschild, through his NR Atticus fund, which holds 30 percent; Guy Wyser-Pratte, who owns 8.4 percent; and Jean-Louis Descours, representative of Vivarte’s founding Descours family, who owns 23.4 percent. The three control around 70 percent of the voting rights.

 

A sale of Vivarte has been on the cards since last October, when both PAI and CVC Capital Partners were reported to have made indicative offers. Shareholders hired Goldman Sachs in October to examine ways of maximising shareholder value.

 

Under French takeover regulations, PAI Partners will now be required to make an offer for the remaining shares not covered by the agreement reached yesterday. Shares in Vivarte, which is listed on the Euronext bourse in Paris, closed slightly lower yesterday at €39.95.

 

CVC has yet to reveal whether it plans to make a rival offer for the business.

 

Vivarte was founded in 1896 by Albert Levy and operates more than 2,500 stores in Europe through 14 chains, including women’s wear retailer Kookai and shoe supplier Andre.

 

Last month, PAI announced that it had acquired 66.85 percent stake in Saeco, a leading European coffee machines manufacturer in a deal valuing the French company at just over €500 million.