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Charterhouse Said to Hire Deutsche Bank, Goldman for Ista Sale

Charterhouse Capital Partners LLP, a London-based buyout firm, has hired Deutsche Bank AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to advise on the sale of German energy-metering business Ista International GmbH, according to three people familiar with the situation.

The process is scheduled to kick off early next year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. Charterhouse is seeking more than 3 billion euros ($3.93 billion) for the company as well as so-called staple financing from banks of more than 2 billion euros for potential buyers, people familiar with the matter said last month. An IPO is also an option, they said.

Ista, based in Essen, Germany, provides electricity, water, heat and gas-meter reading services and hardware to property managers, home owners and utilities in 25 countries. The company may benefit from tougher European Union rules that require energy distributors to save 1.5 percent of their sale volumes annually, as part of efforts to meet the EU’s target of 20 percent energy savings by 2020.

Ista may be one of the largest private-equity asset transactions in Germany next year. Springer Science & Business Media, the German academic publisher being sold by EQT Partners AB, may fetch 3 billion euros to 4 billion euros, people familiar with the sale have said.

Charterhouse couldn’t provide any official to comment on the matter. Spokesmen at Ista, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and CVC Capital Partners Ltd. declined to comment.

Charterhouse bought Ista from CVC for 2.4 billion euros in 2007. CVC re-invested part of the proceeds to buy a stake in Ista.

Banks are offering so-called staple financing of about 7 times Ista’s estimated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of about 315 million euros, people said last month.

Private-equity firms often arrange staple financing to support a sale, as it shows other buyout firms an estimate of how much debt the deal can draw and the return they can achieve.

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