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CVC eyeing first Australian deal in almost 15 years

Luxembourg-based private equity firm CVC Capital Partners is preparing to make its first big deal in Australia over 14 years after it closed its office there, with the acquisition of struggling employment services provider APM, according to a report by the Australian Financial Review (AFR). 

According to AFR’s sources, Richard Blackburn, Head of CVC’s Australia business, has been working closely on a potential take-private deal with AUD892bn global financial services group Macquarie Capital’s CEO, Dragi Ristevski, who left his role as Head of Investment Banking at Credit Suisse last year. During his time at the Swiss bank, Ristevski worked on floating APM’s stocks on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2021.

While CVC has not yet submitted a formal bid, the firm has progressed further than other potential suitors, according to sources cited in the report.

Last month, APM’s share price crashed from AUD3.55 to 68 cents, leaving it vulnerable to private equity interest, according to the report, while a trading update on 18 January saw APM post $148m underlying EBITDA against a consensus forecast of $188m.

CVC’s last Australian venture, a AUD5.6bn acquisition of Australian mass media company Nine Entertainment from billionaire James Packer completed between 2006 and 2008, resulted in the firm losing about 60% of its initial investment in a difficult debt restructuring process in 2012, according to another report by Bloomberg. The firm closed its Australian office that same year.

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