Permira boards ferry company for €522m

The European buyout firm has launched a bid to acquire Italian luxury ferry maker Grandi Navi Veloci, investing alongside current majority shareholders the Grimaldi family.

London-based private equity house Permira has launched a bid to acquire listed Italian luxury ferry company Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV) for €522 million ($629 million) including debt.

GNV is currently listed on the Italian stock exchange. Largest shareholder is the Grimaldi family, which currently holds approximately 71 percent of the company along with its associate company Aernavi.

Permira's bid is being conducted through a takeover vehicle, Vento, which is 80 percent owned by Permira and 20 percent by the Grimaldi family.

Vento will buy the Grimaldi shareholding for €2.90 per share for a total consideration of €134 million before launching a mandatory tender offer of €2.50 per share to the remaining investors in the company in September.

The transaction will be subject to antitrust clearance and is expected to complete in October. If the deal goes ahead, Aldo Grimaldi will continue in his role as president and CEO of GNV.

Permira, which is investing from its €5.1 billion Permira Europe III fund, the largest buyout fund ever raised in Europe, has invested in the Italian luxury boat business before. In September 2002, it acquired luxury yacht company Ferretti for €674 million in a public-to-private. It was the second time Permira became involved with the company. Permira’s second fund had previously held a 60 percent stake in Ferretti before partially exiting via an IPO in 2000 and realising its remaining interest in in late 2001.

Elsewhere in Europe, Permira earlier this month teamed up with pan-European private equity house CVC Capital Partners to acquire the UK roadside repair Automobile Association for £1.75 billion. In April, it paid €640m for a 95 percent stake in Debitel, the German telecommunications company.