Bridgepoint Said to Agree $2.2 Billion Portfolio Sale

  • U.K. buyout firm selling four companies to Harbourvest
  • All companies come from Bridgepoint's 2005 vintage pool

Bridgepoint, a U.K.-based private equity firm, is near a deal to sell a portfolio of its companies worth a combined 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) to a group backed by Harbourvest Partners, said people familiar with the matter.

The buyout firm is selling its stakes in German eyeglass maker Rodenstock GmBH, Dutch education publisher Infinitas Learning, Italian perfumery Limoni SpA and Polish rail group CTL Logistics, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Harbourvest is providing the majority of the equity for the deal though the investments will be managed by Compass Partners International, the people said.

Sales of groups of private equity-backed companies to new investors, known as secondary direct deals, are relatively rare given their complexity. Dubai International Capital, the private equity unit owned by the emirate’s ruler, explored using the technique in February 2014, before deciding on individual sales, while Lloyds Banking Group Plc sold a group of assets it inherited following its purchase of HBOS Plc to a Coller Capital Ltd.-led group in 2012.

Bridgepoint has transferred its interests in a number of the residual assets in Bridgepoint Europe III to a global institutional investor advised by Compass Partners, a spokesman for the firm said in an e-mailed statement. The transaction is subject to normal competition clearances and is expected to complete early this year, according to the statement.

A spokeswoman for Harbourvest declined to comment.

All of the companies come from Bridgepoint’s third pool, which the group raised in 2005 and is now valued at 29 percent more than investors’ original commitments, according to a spokesman for Bridgepoint. The deal will return about 400 million euros to Bridgepoint investors with more expected, given the buyout firm will remain a minority investor in Infinitas and Rodenstock, the people said.

“A secondaries direct where there is a change of general partners is relatively infrequent, albeit a few transactions close each year,” Thomas Liaudet, a partner at advisory firm Campbell Lutyens, said in an e-mailed statement. “The change of manager and of investor(s) can be challenging to transfer assets. The consent of lenders might also be required.”

(Corrects current valuation of fund in sixth paragraph.)
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