January 30, 2020 / 3:23 PM / 25 days ago

Banks launch €1.15bn loan for H&F’s AutoScout buy

LONDON, Jan 30 (LPC) - Banks have launched a €1.15bn leveraged loan financing to back Hellman & Friedman’s acquisition of AutoScout24, the digital motor vehicles unit of German classifieds group Scout24, banking sources said.

Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Nomura are leading the deal alongside Barclays and JP Morgan. A bank meeting is set to take place on February 4 to show the financing to investors, when pricing is set to emerge.

The covenant-lite financing comprises an €815m seven-year first-lien term loan, a €285m eight-year second-lien term loan and a €50m revolving credit facility.

The first lien loan is offered with 101 soft-call protection for six months, while the second lien loan is offered at 102, 101, par.

Lenders have been asked to commit to the loan by February 14.

Scout24, which initiated the sale under pressure from US activist investor Elliott, in October selected three private equity firms - H&F, Permira and Apax - to take part in the final round of the auction.

Elliott argued that Scout24’s auto and property listings businesses had few synergies. It says ImmobilienScout24 could command a standalone valuation of €5bn, while AutoScout24 was around €2.5bn, Reuters reported previously.

AutoScout24 — which operates in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria — bills itself as the largest automotive digital marketplace in the European Union. It lags eBay’s mobile.de in its home market, however.

Editing by Christopher Mangham

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