Charterhouse Will Buy Webhelp, Secures $238M Loan

Buyout firm Charterhouse will buy French call-centre business Webhelp from Astorg Partners, Reuters reported, adding that Charterhouse had secured a 165 million euro ($238 million) loan to help fund the deal. The loan was arranged by Bank of Ireland and Citigroup, Reuters reported. Astorg bought a controlling stake in Webhelp in June 2007 from Barclays Private Equity, which remained a minority shareholder in the business.

(Reuters) – Private equity firm Charterhouse has agreed to buy French call-centre business Webhelp from Astorg Partners, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The deal is financed with a loan of around 165 million euros ($238.8 million), arranged by Bank of Ireland and Citigroup, the people said.

Charterhouse is investing around 50 percent of its own equity in the transaction, one of the people said.

Neither Charterhouse, nor Astorg Partners were immediately available to comment.

The loan will be syndicated to other potential lenders and a bank meeting has been scheduled in Paris on Thursday June 16, the people said.

Astorg bought a controlling stake in Webhelp in June 2007 from Barclays Private Equity, which remained a minority shareholder in the business.

Astorg financed the deal with a 127 million euro leveraged loan, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.

Barclays Private Equity initially acquired Webhelp in December 2005, with the company’s management. Webhelp was created in 2000 and manages French-speaking offshore call centres.

The company has 7,000 employees in Morocco, France and Romania, according to Astorg’s website.

(Reporting by Isabell Witt and Tessa Walsh; Editing by Erica Billingham)