PRIVATE equity firm Apax Partners is in exclusive talks to buy Danish cleaning giant ISS for $8.5bn (£5.3bn) in what could be Europe's largest buyout since the credit crisis.
ISS’ owners, Goldman Sachs and Swedish buyout firm EQT, have been considering an initial public offering (IPO) or a sale of the company, Reuters sources said.
It is one of the world's largest facilities services firms, employing more than 500,000 people.
Apax beat bids of two rival private equity consortia to enter exclusive talks – one made up of Blackstone, Bain Capital, Nordic Capital and Clayton Dubilier & Rice, and another made up of CVC and Apollo.
Apax is now talking to the sovereign wealth funds and large pension funds that invest in its €11.2bn euro buyout fund about investing directly in ISS, the source told Reuters.
Apax's maximum equity investment in deals is around €600m, leaving it to raise more than $2.5bn from co-investors.
That would leave about $5bn to be funded through debt.
The group has a couple of months to round up the investment, the person said.
ISS's main peers are UK security services group G4S, French catering and services company Sodexho SA, UK catering services provider Compass Group and Swedish security services company Securitas AB.
Apax declined to comment. EQT and Goldman Sachs were not immediately available for comment.
City A.M. Reporter