RLPC-BC Partners buys majority stake in Spotless Group

LONDON Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:54am EST

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LONDON Feb 17 (Reuters) - Private equity group BC Partners [BCPRT.UL] has acquired a 65.6 percent stake in French domestic cleaning products manufacturer Spotless Group from AXA Private Equity, AXA PE said in a statement on Wednesday.

The deal could be worth around 600 million euros ($819 million), a source close to the deal told Thomson Reuters LPC.

Spotless Group, which makes cleaning products including Vim, Eparcyl and Ballerina, generated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of around 65-70 million euros last year, according to sources close to the deal.

BC Partners is taking a loan from Bank of Ireland, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Societe Generale to cover half the acquisition cost, and has cash for the rest, the first source said.

BC Partners [BCPRT.UL] was bidding against Lion Capital in the second round of the process. Rival private equity house Bridgepoint [BRDG.UL], which had placed a first round bid, decided not to place a second round bid, another source familiar with the situation said.

Spotless was created following the acquisition in 2005 of the market leader in French laundry and homecare products, Eau Ecarlate. The company then went on to make six bolt-on acquisitions, including France's Eparcyl in 2007 and Dylon in the U.K. in 2008.

Lazard advised AXA PE and Spotless in the transaction. (Reporting by Zaida Espana, additional reporting by Simon Meads, editing by Will Waterman) ($1=.7326 Euro)

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