Cinven and Apax Partners Funds to acquire VNU World Directories in a €2,075 million transaction
Funds advised by Apax Partners Worldwide LLP (“Apax Partners”) and Cinven Limited (“Cinven”), announce that they have agreed to acquire VNU World Directories (“World Directories”), one of the world’s leading directory publishers, for a consideration of €2,075 million, from parent company VNU NV, the publicly-listed Dutch information and media business.
Funds advised by Apax Partners and Cinven will hold equal stakes in World Directories. The acquisition has been structured with equity finance from the €4.4 billion third Cinven fund and the €4.4 billion Apax Europe V Fund. Debt facilities to support the transaction have been arranged and underwritten by a syndicate comprising J.P. Morgan, CSFB, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.
World Directories, employing approximately 2,200 people, publishes Yellow Pages directories and telephone books in print, on-line and mobile formats. The group is market leader in each of the seven countries in which it operates, namely Belgium, The Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Puerto Rico and South Africa. World Directories produces 125 directories with a circulation of over 40 million copies, under brand names such as Golden Pages, Gouden Gids, Pages d’Or, Páginas Amarelas and Pagini Aurii.
For the year to 31 December 2003, World Directories generated €492 million of revenues and €228 million of EBITDA (including attributable EBITDA from associates).
Commenting on the acquisition, Cinven Partner Brian Linden, said:
“World Directories is a very stable, high margin and cash generative business with significant growth opportunities both in print and on-line. We see substantial upside for the group through a tightly focused strategy of investment in the sales force, marketing and product development.
“World Directories has been a highly sought after asset. It is a very attractive international business with a strong reputation. Our strategy will aim to build on World Directories' strength as a world-class player in directory publishing. We have a proven track record of investing in the media sector and today's acquisition is in line with our focus of backing leading European businesses with compelling growth prospects.”
Tom Hall, Director of Apax Partners, said:
"World Directories is a strong and highly profitable business with significant opportunities for growth. We believe we have a great opportunity together with management to create value as the business enters this new stage of its development.
“Building on Apax Partners’ experience in the directories industry, with prior Apax Partners Funds’ investments in Yell and Thomson Directories, and the experience of investing in publishing of our partner Cinven, World Directories will have the strategic support, financial backing and commitment it needs to realise these opportunities. We will invest in the key assets of the company - its brands, sales forces and products - to drive the business forward."
UBS Investment Bank and J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisers to Cinven and Apax Partners.