REFILE-TPG-backed Northstar expands into take-private deals

Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:21am EST

HONG KONG Nov 20 (Reuters) - Indonesian private equity firm Northstar Group is expanding into take-private deals, agreeing to buy a majority stake in Singapore-listed Nera Telecommunications and offering to buy the entire company for around $146 million, in a sign of growing ambition among Asia's private equity firms.

Norway's Eltek ASA said it has agreed to sell its 50.05 percent stake in Nera to Northstar, part-owned by TPG Capital , for S$88.8 million ($72.6 million) or S$0.49 a share. Northstar will extend the same offer for the remaining shares in a mandatory unconditional cash offer.

Northstar's offer, through wholly owned subsidiary Asia Systems Ltd, is a 6.3 percent discount to Monday's closing price for telecoms group Nera, whose operations include satellite communications and payments solutions.

Northstar, like many other emerging-market private equity funds, has previously focused largely on taking a minority stake in private companies, rather than investing in publicly listed companies.

The firm has $1.2 billion in assets under management and last year raised Indonesia's biggest ever private equity fund of $820 million. Around 15-20 percent of that new fund was earmarked for potential investments outside Indonesia.

TPG last year deepened its long-standing relationship with Northstar when the two firms swapped stakes.