CSFB takes E270m stake in Safilo

CSFB Private Equity has invested in a large minority stake in Safilo, the Italian luxury eyewear maker, which has also completed a E940m refinancing.

(PrivateEquityCentral.net) CSFB Private Equity has invested E270m in eyeglass distributor Safilo in return for a minority stake in the company.

 

The investment coincides with Safilo announcing a E940m refinancing of existing debt, which it incurred in 2001 as part of a privatisation led by the founders of the company, the Tabacchi family.

 

Safilo designs, manufactures, and distributes luxury eyewear under license of companies like Burberry, Fossil, Sak Fifth Avenue, Nine West, and others. The company has its own brands, including Carrera and Smith. The company had revenues of E845m in 2001.

 

The refinancing of the debt was led by CSFB Private Equity’s parent company Credit Suisse First Boston, who also acted as financial adviser to the transactions. San Paolo IMI and Unicredit Banca Mobiliare also took part in the debt refinancing.

 

Latham & Watkins advised CSFB Private Equity on M&A, corporate, competition and financing aspects of the transaction. Pavia e Ansaldo acted as Italian counsel to CSFB Private Equity.

 

CSFB Private Equity, the global private equity arm of Credit Suisse First Boston, is one of the largest managers of alternative assets in the world, with $26bn of assets under management.

 

In November, Credit Suisse First Boston, through its DLJ Merchant Banking Partners III fund, acquired $20m of debt in Brigham Exploration Co, an independent gas and oil exploration and production company.

 

Also in November, DLJ Merchant Banking Partners III invested $750m in TXU Energy, the retail electricity provider and electricity producer of energy conglomerate TXU. The investment is in the form of exchangeable subordinated notes due in 2012. The notes can be exchanged at any time for TXU common shares at an exercise price of $13.15.