Bain Capital enters Spain

The Boston-based firm is poised to make its first Spanish investment, after agreeing to acquire call centre business Atento for more than €1bn.

Bain Capital has agreed to acquire a 100 percent stake in Spanish call centre business for more than €1 billion, it said in a statement.   

Bain bought the company from Telefonica, a Spanish telecommunications business. The enterprise value included a €110 million contingent deferred payment and vendor financing provided by Telefonica for €110 million, the firm said.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory authorisation, is expected to complete by the end of the year.
Atento operates in 15 countries and employs more than 152,000 people, the statement said.  In 2011, the company’s revenue was €1.8 billion. In June 2012 the company had net debt of €175 million.

Bain declined to comment on the statement.

It is understood Telefonica needs to reduce its debt and reportedly tried to sell Atento in 2007.  A source familiar with the matter told Private Equity International Atento still has some cash on its balance sheet. The company’s debt to EBITDA debt ratio was 2.5x, the source added.

Bain’s first investment in Spain comes just after rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded the country’s sovereign credit rating to BBB-. However, the Spanish company mainly operates in Latin America, the source said, with 84 percent of last year’s revenues coming from the Americas.

Bain has invested previously in call centres. In November 2009, it acquired Japanese call centre Bellsytem24 for $1 billion.  In August this year, Bain invested $1 billion in business technology services company Genpact.

The firm is not the only private equity player to tap into the Spanish market. Earlier this week, HIG Capital’s European arm made its first investment from their recently opened Madrid office.