Sale of Rexel gains momentum

At least five groups of private equity firms are expected to submit indicative bids upwards of $2.1 billion for a majority stake in Rexel SA, the largest electrical distributor in the world, according to a recent Reuters article.

A Sept. 27 Reuters report said Rexel's Paris-based parent, French retailer Pinault-Printemps-Redoute SA (PPR), wants to divest its 74 percent Rexel stake by year-end to focus on luxury goods and distribution. In 2003, PPR posted 2003 sales of $29.9 billion.

The report said as of June 30 Rexel had a market capitalization of approximately $2.8 billion, and net debt of approximately $1.4 billion. According to French stock market regulations, once the successful bidder has agreed to a deal with PPR, it would then have to make an offer to buy the remaining shares at the same price.

The list of investment bankers reportedly interested in Rexel includes two companies previously involved with acquisitions in the electrical market: The Blackstone Group, Chicago, and Clayton Dubilier and Rice, New York, sources told Reuters.

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