AXA falls short of Camaïeu take-private target

AXA Private Equity holding company Modamax has increased its shareholding in listed French clothes retailer Camaïeu - but not by enough to take the company private.

Paris-headquartered AXA Private Equity, the buyout arm of the French insurer, has increased its shareholding in French clothing retailer Camaïeu.

Modamax, a holding company of AXA Private Equity, made a €130 per share offer for the entire remaining shares of Camaïeu at the end of January. The offer valued the company at approximately €800 million ($953 million). 

At the time, the firm announced that it intended to de-list the company through a squeeze-out if conditions were met. But while Modamax increased its share capital in Camaïeu from 52.8 percent to 64.6 percent and its voting rights from 64.7 percent to 74.1 percent, this was short of the 95 percent of voting rights required to de-list the company.
Last December, Modamax increased its share capital to 52.8 percent with the acquisition of a 10.4 percent stake from Castlerigg Master Investments, a hedge fund managed by Sandell Asset Management.
AXA Private Equity said in a statement that it was “satisfied” with Modamax’s increase in Camaïeu’s share capital, although it added that its “philosophy is to hold stakes in unlisted firms in order to be able to manage its investments autonomously and arbitrate when necessary between profitability, risk and growth, with a medium to long term view”.
Founded in 1984 by Jean-Pierre Torck, Camaïeu is a women’s ready-to-wear garments retailer. The company reported revenues of €393 million from 442 retail outlets in eight countries in 2004.
In related news, AXA Private Equity Asia has announced the opening of a Singapore office. Dominique Senequier, CEO of Axa Private Equity, said in a statement: “After opening our offices in London, New York and Frankfurt, it is essential for us to be in Asia. We opted for Singapore as a major economic and financial place in Asia.”
AXA Private Equity Asia will invest in funds and direct co-investments through a recently launched $550 million (€462 million) vehicle, of which the AXA Group and Caisse de depot et placement du Québec are the two main investors. Target countries are Japan, China, India, Australia and Korea.