* CVC has made at least two investments in the Philippines
* SPi Global has EBITDA of about $45 million -sources
* Rapid economic growth in SE Asia attracting buyout funds
By Maggie Chen and Stephen Aldred
HONG KONG, Jan 10 Private equity firm CVC
is in exclusive talks to buy a majority stake in SPi
Global Holdings, a business outsourcing unit of Philippine Long
Distance Telephone Co, for about $320 million including
debt, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
PLDT, Manila's second-most valuable listed company, had put
an 80 percent stake in SPi Global on the block last year as it
looks to shed non-core businesses. The auction attracted
interest from global buyout firms including Bain Capital and
Carlyle Group as well as CVC, Thomson Reuters
publication Basis Point reported on Wednesday.
The deal underlines rising interest in the Philippines as an
investment destination, with some of the world's biggest private
equity firms beefing up their capabilities in Southeast Asia's
The Philippines' economy grew an annualised 7.1 percent in
the third quarter, the second-fastest pace in Asia after China.
The rapid pace makes it likely that growth for all of 2012 will
surpass the Philippine government's 5 to 6 percent target. The
benchmark Philippine stock index surged by a third last
year and was one of Asia's best performing markets.
Asia is enjoying a fundraising boom as global equity firms
are tempted by its fast-growing economies and potential for
further expansion, and that is drawing some of the world's
biggest private equity firms to bid on auctions in markets where
buyout deals have previously been thin on the ground.
PLDT said in a Philippine Stock Exchange filing last month
that it was finalising a deal without identifying the buyer.
PLDT, CVC and Carlyle declined comment, while Bain did not
offer an immediate comment.
SPi Global derives most of its revenues in U.S. dollars from
outsourcing work for international clients, but also has an
education-linked publishing unit which it acquired in 2012.
The company has more than 18,000 employees and operations in
the United States, Europe, the Philippines, India, Vietnam and
Australia. SPi has earnings before interest, tax, depreciation
and amortisation of around $45 million, two separate sources
with knowledge of the matter said.
London-based CVC has a strong track record of landing deals
in Southeast Asia. In 2011, it bought 15 percent of the
Philippines' Rizal Commercial Banking Corp for $115
million and in 2000, it acquired industrial packaging maker
Steniel Manufacturing Corp.
In another Southeast Asian deal, CVC is closing in on a $1.7
billion buyout of the KFC fast food franchises in Malaysia,
together with the investment arm of Malaysia's Johor State,
Johor Corp, and the Employee Provident Fund.
Telecoms provider PLDT, which offers fixed line, wireless
and communication technology services, is one of Hong
Kong-listed First Pacific Co Ltd's principal