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Bear Stearns buyout affiliate completes first deal

Bear Stearns Merchant Banking has sealed its first deal, paying an undisclosed sum for two Latin American consumer finance businesses.

Bear Stearns Merchant Banking, the bank’s mid-market private equity affiliate, has made its first investment from a $2.7 billion (€2 billion) buyout fund, buying two Latin American divisions of US bank Wells Fargo.

The two businesses provide unsecured personal loans, sales finance and related credit insurance products in Panama, Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

It is the first investment from Bear Stearns’ third private equity fund, Bear Stearns Merchant Banking Partners III, which closed in August last year at $2.7 billion.

Tom Shippee, president and chief executive officer of Wells Fargo Financial said in a statement that the sale will enable the company to focus on its US and Canada business.

Bear Stearns Merchant Banking was formed in 1997 and has invested in more than 50 companies.  The firm manages almost $5 billion of private equity capital.