BC Partners Seals Buyout of $3.4 Billion Italy Machine Firm IMA

BC Partners will team up with the largest shareholder in Italy’s IMA Industria Macchine Automatiche SpA to acquire the machinery maker and take it private, in a deal valuing the company at about 2.9 billion euros ($3.4 billion).

The private equity firm and SOFIMA Società Finanziaria Macchine Automatiche SpA -- which owns 51.6% -- will launch a mandatory tender offer for outstanding IMA shares at 68 euros per share, according to a statement Tuesday, confirming an earlier report by Bloomberg. The deal shapes up to be one of this year’s biggest private equity buyouts of a listed European company.

IMA shares rose as much as 14% on Wednesday on news of the deal, which will see the company delisted from the Milan exchange.

BC Partners will initially take a 20% stake in SOFIMA in a transaction scheduled to close in November. The parties will then launch the tender offer, after which BC Partners can increase its stake in SOFIMA to up to 45%.

“It was important to find a party that would allow IMA to remain independent,” Chairman Alberto Vacchi said. IMA has been majority-owned by the Vacchi family since the early 1960s, according to its website.

Kepler Cheuvreux said in a note that the offer price values the stock at 12.6x EV/Ebitda and 26x P/E based on 2021 estimates.

Private Equity Struggles

Private equity firms have been struggling to pull off major take-private deals in 2020 even after the coronavirus pandemic hammered stock prices. Company boards have been less willing to engage in buyout talks with markets still in recovery mode, while a lack of earnings visibility has prevented some potential suitors from placing bets.

In one of the few such deals this year, a consortium backed by KKR, Cinven and Providence Equity Partners agreed in June to buy Spanish phone company Masmovil Ibercom SA for about 3 billion euros.

BC Partners raised its last flagship buyout fund in 2018 and is targeting around 8.5 billion euros for its 11th pool of capital, Bloomberg News reported last year. The firm’s other investments in Italy include the Cigierre restaurant chain and bakery group Forno d’Asolo.

IMA makes machinery for processing and packaging of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., BNP Paribas SA, UniCredit SpA, Mediobanca SpA and Morgan Stanley arranged financing for the deal, according to the statement.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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