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Mexico billionaire Slim's construction company plans $1.4 billion offering

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican infrastructure company Promotora del Desarrollo de America Latina, which is controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, said on Friday that it plans a public offering of real estate investment trust units worth almost $1.4 billion this year.

Promotora Ideal (IDEALB1.MX), as the company is known, said in a filing to the Mexican stock exchange that the 25.8 billion Mexican pesos ($1.365 billion) offering would be via a Fibra E, a Mexican real estate investment trust.

If successful, the listing would be the first of its type in a long time. In recent years, experts said, local companies have mostly raised funds via bonds and certificates of capital development (CKDs).

Promotora Ideal manages highway, water treatment, electric energy generation and social infrastructure projects across Mexico. Like other companies controlled by Slim, it is listed on the Mexican stock exchange.

The Fibra E structure was launched in 2015 in an attempt to attract investments in infrastructure and energy projects following a far-reaching reform under former President Enrique Pena Nieto that opened these sectors to private investors.

Credit Suisse has been tapped for the placements, documents published by the local stock exchange showed.

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Employee benefits firm OneDigital up for sale: sources

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Private equity firm New Mountain Capital LLC is exploring a sale of OneDigital, which could value the U.S. employee benefits and insurance broker at more than $2 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

A deal would mark the latest example of a buyout firm cashing out of its investment in an insurance brokerage. Private equity firms take over these companies, enlarge them through acquisitions, and then sell them, typically to other buyout firms, for a big profit.

Companies which help businesses outsource services, such as employee benefits, have also been attractive buys for private equity, as the outsourcing trend accelerates in corporate America and boosts the provider’s profits.

OneDigital generates around $150 million of 12-month earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, the sources said.

The sources requested anonymity to discuss nonpublic information. New Mountain declined to comment. OneDigital did not respond to a request for comment.

Last year, private equity firm GTCR acquired insurance brokerage AssuredPartners from buyout firm Apax Partners for $5.1 billion, including debt, while Carlyle Group Inc (CG.O) purchased Hilb Group, another insurance brokerage, from buyout firm Abry Partners for more than $1 billion, including debt.

OneDigital focuses on providing small and medium-sized businesses with benefits packages for its employees that include healthcare and insurance, as well as human resources and compliance services.

Earlier this month, it expanded into wealth management by acquiring Overland Park, Kansas-based Resources Investment Advisors, a move which OneDigital said would allow it to combine retirement planning and healthcare services for its customers.

Based in Atlanta, OneDigital is used by more than 50,000 employers in the United States, according to its website. It generated revenue of $428 million through the end of September 2019, according to Moody’s Investors Service Inc.

New Mountain bought a majority stake in OneDigital in 2017 for $560 million from Fidelity National Financial Ventures.

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HP adopts poison pill after Xerox's buyout attempts

(Reuters) – HP Inc (HPQ.N) said on Thursday it would implement a poison pill plan lasting a year, as Xerox Holdings Corp (XRX.N) pushes ahead with its efforts to acquire the PC maker.

Xerox recently raised its offer earlier this month by $2 to $24 per share, following several rejections of its previous buyout offers by the PC maker. HP shares closed up 0.9% at $22.64 on Thursday and was flat after hours.

The implementation of the stockholder rights plan aims to stop investors from amassing more than a 20% stake in the company.

“The rights will not prevent a combination of HP with another business, but should encourage Xerox (or anyone else seeking to acquire the Company) to negotiate with the Board prior to attempting to impose some combination that is not in the best interests of the HP shareholders,” HP said in its statement.

Xerox did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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Brazil education firm Uniasselvi hires banks for U.S. IPO: sources

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian distance learning company Uniasselvi has hired investment banks to manage an initial public offering in the United States, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The company, which is seeking a valuation above $1 billion, has hired the investment banking units of Goldman Sachs & Co, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America to manage the offering.

It will join other two Brazilian education groups with U.S. listings, Arco Platform Ltd (ARCE.O) and Afya Ltd (AFYA.O).

Uniasselvi has among its partners private equity firms Carlyle Group Inc (CG.O), Neuberger Berman LLC and Vinci Partners.

One of the sources said the company is mainly seeking to raise proceeds to expand its businesses. But this person did not rule out partners selling some shares.

Uniasselvi, which has more than 200,000 students, posted 2019 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of roughly 150 million reais.

Uniasselvi had no immediate comment.

Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico reported the hiring of the banks by Uniasselvi earlier on Thursday.

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Canada's Telus seeks to raise C$1.3 billion in stock offering

(Reuters) – Canadian telecom operator Telus Corp said on Wednesday that it aims to raise about C$1.3 billion ($983.43 million)through a public stock offering, priced at C$52 per share.

The offering will be backed by a group of underwriters led by RBC Capital Markets and TD Securities, while CIBC Capital Markets, BMO Capital Markets and Scotiabank will be joint bookrunners.

Telus had said last week that it would begin rolling out its 5G network and its initial module would be with Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s equipment, flagging concerns of high costs if the Canadian government banned Huawei.

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South Africa's Grand Parade to sell Burger King franchise

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s Grand Parade Investments (GPI) Ltd (GPLJ.J) said on Wednesday it will sell its 95.36% stake in Burger King franchise and all of Grand Foods Meat Plant to ECP Africa Fund for 697 million rand ($46.53 million).

The investment firm had signed a long-term master franchise agreement with Burger King in 2012, betting on South Africa’s lucrative fast-food market, consumer appetite for flame-grilled burgers and their price appeal.

However, South African retailers have been struggling to boost sales as a slowing economy, high unemployment rate and rising fuel costs reduced consumers’ spending power.

GPI has traded at a significant discount to the value of its underlying assets, Chief Executive Mohsin Tajbhai said, adding that the South African firm implemented a “value-based strategy” two years ago, aimed at reducing the discount at which the group’s share price trades relative to its intrinsic net asset value (iNAV).

“The board considered the sale of GPI’s stake in Burger King South Africa in the context of the group’s strategy of unlocking value for all shareholders and has decided that the best way forward is to initiate a controlled sale of assets,” Tajbhai said.

The Whopper Burger maker, which launched its restaurant in the South African port city of Cape Town in 2013, competes with market leader McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) and other restaurant chains such as RocoMamas.

Burger King, which has 92 restaurants across the country, generated a profit of 11.7 million rand for GPI last year, aided by higher sales from new restaurants and improving same-store sales.

Grand Foods Meat Plant operates a burger-making plant, with Burger King being its largest customer accounting for more than 90% sales.

Meanwhile, ECP Africa, a private equity fund manager focused on Africa, has 60 investments that include Eco bank, MTN Cote d’Ivoire and leading bottler of carbonated soft drinks, Atlas Bottling Corp in Algeria.

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South Africa's Grand Parade to sell Burger King franchise

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Grand Parade Investments (GPI) Ltd (GPLJ.J), which holds the Burger King franchise in South Africa, said on Wednesday it will sell its 95.36% stake in the business to ECP Africa Fund, in an attempt to close a valuation discount to its net asset value.

The sale also includes all shares it holds in Grand Foods Meat Plant, it said in a statement.

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VIP Cinema, which makes luxury movie theater seating, files for bankruptcy

(Reuters) – VIP Cinema Holdings, the largest maker of luxury reclining seats for U.S. movie theaters, on Tuesday filed for bankruptcy, citing a glut of seating as box office receipts fell, screen growth slowed, and older seats lasted longer than expected.

In filings with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware, VIP said its Chapter 11 reorganization would hand control to its lenders and private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, which would take a 51% equity stake, and eliminate $178 million of long-term debt.

Court approval is required. VIP was founded in 2008 in New Albany, Mississippi, as a residential furniture maker, and moved its corporate offices to St. Louis last year. It said it has a 70% share of the U.S. market for luxury movie theater seating.

In a court filing, Chief Restructuring Officer Stephen Spitzer said the premium recliner market had by 2017 “reached a near saturation point” following theater upgrades by chains such as AMC, Cinemark and Cineplex, and the number of new screens has since remained “relatively flat.”

He also said VIP’s initial belief that seats it sold in 2012 and 2013 would need replacement by now was incorrect, in part because box office and theater attendance have fallen, and the company now expects a “much longer” replacement cycle.

U.S. movie theaters grossed $11.32 billion in ticket sales in 2019, down 4.8% from 2018, according to Box Office Mojo.

Spitzer said that after the restructuring, “VIP will be well-equipped to succeed in the competitive consumer landscape.”

VIP hopes to emerge from bankruptcy by mid-April, while preserving 373 jobs.

H.I.G. is based in Miami and manages more than $35 billion in equity capital, according to its website. It invested $62.5 million in VIP in 2017, Spitzer said.

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Union sets out demands as Thyssenkrupp elevator sale nears endgame

DUESSELDORF/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Any new owner of Thyssenkrupp’s (TKAG.DE) prized elevator unit not only has to provide guarantees for jobs and sites but also commit to co-determination structures and investments to keep the business future-proof, Germany’s largest union told Reuters.

“We want to conclude the negotiations as fast as possible and then sign an agreement with the chosen buyer,” IG Metall’s Knut Giesler, who leads talks on behalf of employees in Thyssenkrupp’s efforts to sell its elevator division, said on Tuesday.

Thyssenkrupp on Monday narrowed the field of bidders for the world’s fourth-largest lift maker and was now focusing on selling a majority or all of its elevator unit to either Blackstone (BX.N), Carlyle (CG.O) and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board or Advent and Cinven [CINV.UL].

“There are two, three things that still need to be ironed out. That’s the task of the next one-and-a-half weeks,” said Giesler, who also serves as deputy chairman of the supervisory board of Thyssenkrupp Elevator Technology.

The sale of Thyssenkrupp Elevator — potentially Europe’s largest private equity deal in 13 years — will be key for the future of the German conglomerate, which has been hit by profit warnings and delayed restructuring steps.

Giesler said as well as securing jobs and sites, any new owner must also make sure that debt repayment — which is part of any private equity deal — will not overly burden the division.

He said the future of Thyssenkrupp Elevator would have to be secured through investments, adding this involved a “decent” triple digit million euro sum a year.

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