3i makes 3.4x its money on sale of WiIliams Lea

13 Feb 2006

3i, Europe's leading private equity company, has sold its minority stake in Williams Lea, the leading global provider of customised Corporate Information Solutions, for £110m to Deutsche Post.  3i's proceeds represent a money multiple of 3.4x and an IRR of 83%.

Williams Lea provides a complete range of document-related solutions spanning the spectrum of inbound, document management and outbound services, operating from over 400 locations across the US, Europe and Asia Pacific. 

3i invested £20m growth capital in Williams Lea in March 2004 to enable the business to secure longer term contracts and make important acquisitions.  At the same time, a £14m tender offer resulted in 3i having a minority stake of 38%.  Working in partnership with the company, 3i has supported Williams Lea in identifying and implementing a number of acquisitions.  The company achieved critical mass in the US following the 2004 acquisition of its joint venture partner, Bowne Business Solutions and the 2005 acquisition of Uniscribe strengthening its ability to deliver global solutions to its clients.  With the additional development of capability in India and the acquisition of Creatis in Australia in 2005, the business now boasts a unique global footprint. 

Angela Lane, 3i Partner, commented: "Williams Lea has performed very strongly since our investment in 2004, winning contracts with Norwich Union and Prudential worth more than £365 million and establishing a truly global footprint.  During our investment, we have seen the company develop into a world class business and we wish the team continued success for the future."

Tim Griffiths, Williams Lea CEO, commented: "3i has demonstrated invaluable support as an investor in our business during a period of rapid organic and acquisitive growth.  The sale of 3i's equity stake to Deutsche Post will enable us to further accelerate our global expansion and build on our leading position in the Corporate Information Solutions market".  

Notes to editors

About 3i 
3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital.  We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital and Venture Capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia Pacific. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.

3i Growth Capital 
3i's Growth Capital business focuses on investing minority stakes in high growth companies expanding organically or through acquisition.  The business currently manages 300 investments across Europe and Asia with a value in excess of €1.8bn and invests across a broad range of industry sectors, including healthcare, financial services, food & drink, media, IT services, support services and oil & gas. 

Recent investments include Nimbus, India, €36m; Boxer, Sweden, €84m; Clinica Baviera, Spain, €40m; Hayley Conference Centres, UK, €60m; Renta Corporation, Spain, €20m; Novem CID, Germany, €25m; Vetoquinol, France, €20m and PEARL, Singapore, €8m.  Recent exits include Petrofac, UK, €1,083m; Cannon Avent, UK, €450m; EAT, UK, €57m; Republic, UK, €150m and Highland Energy, Germany, €178m.  For further information, visit www.3i.com

About Williams Lea

Williams Lea is the leading global provider of Corporate Information Solutions.

We transform the way organisations communicate and exchange their printed and electronic information.  Our customised solutions are delivered by a unique group of people who evaluate, re-engineer and manage processes for greater efficiency.  The result is that we help our clients to be more successful.  We improve their profitability, enhance their customer experience and reduce their risk.

Current clients include some of the world's leading organisations in the legal, financial services, investment banking, professional services, retail, telecommunications, automotive, energy and utilities, pharmaceutical and corporate sectors.  Amongst others, Williams Lea's client base encompasses Abbey, O2, BMW, Prudential, AXA, Norwich Union and Debenhams.

For more information, visit www.williamslea.com