* Dual track approach helped push up offer price
* Largest German private equity deal since 2006
* Seller says deal set to close in August
FRANKFURT, June 19 Buyout firm BC Partners
agreed to buy German publisher Springer
Science+Business Media for about 3.3 billion euros
($4.4 billion) on Wednesday, the largest private-equity
acquisition in Germany for seven years.
Owners EQT and Government of Singapore Investment
Corporation had been pursuing both a direct sale and a
flotation, which appears to have paid off by pushing up the
Sources told Reuters earlier this week that the owners
entered fresh talks with BC Partners after last week rejecting
the firm's 3.1 billion euro ($4.1 billion) bid as too low and
announcing they would float the business.
Springer, which competes with Anglo-Dutch publisher Reed
Elsevier and Dutch company Wolters Kluwer,
publishes 2,200 English-language journals and more than 8,000
new book titles every year.
"BC Partners plans to support the continued growth of
Springer globally by further expanding its core subscription
business as well as focusing on traditionally high-growth areas
such as open access publishing and emerging markets," the buyout
Sources said the sellers would keep a stake of about 10
percent in Springer between them. BC Partners confirmed the
current owners would retain a minority shareholding.
BC Partners said some of the 3.3 billion euro deal value,
which includes debt, depends on the publisher's future
performance. That amount is 200-300 million euros according to
two people familiar with the deal.
Swedish private equity firm EQT said in a statement that the
transaction was expected to close in August.
The deal is the largest takeover of a German company by a
private equity group since the 4 billion euro acquisition of
forklift truck maker Kion by KKR and Goldman Sachs
British private equity investors Candover and Cinven
created Springer Science in 2004 by merging Dutch
group Kluwer Academic Publishers with German firm
In December 2009, EQT and GIC bought 82 percent and 18
percent of the company, respectively, from Candover and Cinven.
BP Partners said it was advised by Credit Suisse,
Nomura and Jefferies.
The purchase will be backed with around 2.5 billion euros of
debt provided by Barclays, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JP
Morgan, Nomura and UBS, banking
The debt will include euro- and dollar denominated leveraged
loans that are "covenant lite," a structure that offers little
or no protection for lenders via financial tests.
It will also include subordinated debt, either in the form
of a public or private high yield bond, the banking sources