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BC Partners in Exclusive Talks for Gruppo Coin Stake

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Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- BC Partners Ltd. is in exclusive talks to buy PAI Partners’ majority stake in Gruppo Coin SpA, Italy’s biggest department-store chain.

Financiere Tintoretto SA, the holding through which PAI controls Coin, agreed to give London-based private equity firm BC Partners an exclusivity period until Feb. 18, according to a statement distributed through the Italian exchange today. BC Partners has made a non-binding offer, Financiere Tintoretto said, without giving further details.

PAI, which leads a group of investors holding 70 percent of the retailer, is seeking to sell Coin after a five-year investment during which it added stores and revamped its discount-clothing unit. PAI bought a 63 percent stake in Coin from its founding family in 2005 for more than 181 million euros ($249 million). It later increased its holding to about 70 percent.

Bidders have the option to use pre-arranged staple financing for 700 million euros ($964 million) to 800 million euros, two people familiar with the deal said. Credit Agricole CIB, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, Mediobanca SpA, Natixis, UBS AG and UniCredit SpA arranged the package in the form of senior loans, or a mix of senior loans and mezzanine debt, said the people, who declined to be identified because the deal is private.

Debt

The debt would represent less than 4 times Gruppo Coin’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, the people said. Private-equity firms pool money from investors to take over companies, financing the purchases mostly with debt, with the intention of selling them later for a profit.

A spokeswoman in London for BC Partners declined to comment.

Private equity firms including BC Partners are resuming acquisitions as they attempt to invest a record $450 billion of unspent capital raised before the financial crisis, according to research firm Preqin Ltd.

Carlyle Group, Bain Capital LLC and TPG Capital are among at least five companies that submitted bids for PAI’s stake, four people with knowledge of the offers said Dec. 21. Shares of Coin, based in Venice, have risen 64 percent in the past year in Milan, boosting the company’s market value to 1.1 billion euros. UBS AG and Mediobanca SpA are advising PAI.

To contact the reporters on this story: Marco Bertacche in Milan at mbertacche@bloomberg.net; Patricia Kuo in London at pkuo2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net

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