Stirling Square makes Boosey offer

The UK buyout firm has joined forces with European Acquisition Capital to offer £40m for the UK classical music publishing group.

Stirling Square and European Acquisition Capital (EAC), both European mid-market buyout firms, have made a £40.1m recommended offer for Boosey & Hawkes, the UK-listed classical music publishing group, in the latest public-to-private buyout transaction to take place from the London Stock Exchange.


Boosey & Hawkes has been the subject of considerable bid interest from financial buyers in the latest auction process, including HgCapital, Close Brothers Private Equity and 3i. In late 2001, Boosey & Hawkes received a £50m public-to-private offer from Graphite Capital and UK-based Music Sales. Boosey rejected the offer but confirmed that it had instructed Deutsche Bank to look into a possible sale of its instrument division. In February 2003, the group sold the unit division to Rutland Fund Management in a deal worth £33.2m.


Bidding via acquisition vehicle Regent Street Music, Stirling Square and EAC have offered 195 pence per share for Boosey, a premium of 88 per cent to the closing price on 5 October 2001, the last business day before the company announced that it had received an approach that may or may not lead to an offer.


Boosey & Hawkes is one of the largest specialist classical music publishing companies in the world and owns a catalogue of music copyrights including composers such as Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Britten, Copland, Richard Strauss, Bartók and Prokofieff.


Stirling and EAC have not disclosed the value of their equity stakes in the business, although the two have arranged financing totaling £50m from Royal Bank of Scotland to refinance existing debt, which stands at £23.2m, and provide working capital. London-based EAC typically invests between E10m and E30m per transaction while Stirling Square looks to invest in deals valued in the E50m to E500m bracket.


In the year ended 31 December 2002, Boosey & Hawkes reported sales from continuing operations of £26m (2001: £24.7m like-for-like) with an operating profit from continuing operations, excluding exceptional items, of £1.2m (2001: operating profit £1.5m).


Citigroup is acting as financial advisor to Regent. Deutsche Bank is acting as financial advisor to Boosey & Hawkes.