Stepstone to buy Saongroup assets

Seen & Heard: recruitment business to buy bulk of assets of company co-owned by Denis O’Brien

Denis O’Brien. The Saongroup deal is expected to be completed by the middle of September and could be worth up to €40 million based on industry averages. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

International recruitment business Stepstone is to buy the bulk of the assets of Saongroup, the online recruitment company owned by Denis O'Brien and Leslie Buckley, the Sunday Times reports. The deal is expected to be completed by the middle of September and could be worth up to €40 million based on industry averages, the paper said.

Stepstone, which is owned by German media group Axel Springer, is not buying Saongroup's Asian assets. The German group is driving the consolidation of the online recruitment business in Europe and paid €132 million for UK recruiter Totaljobs last year.

It is acquiring as well as the groups sites in the UK, Luxembourg and 10 Central American markets including Jamaica, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

Ardagh shelves fundraising round
Ardagh has shelved its planned $500million pre-IPO fundraising round due to the uncertainty over a US investigation into its $1.7 billion buyout of rival group Verallia, the Sunday Independent reports.

“In late May, we outlined that we were evaluating the possible private sale of a minority stake (for an amount exceeding $500million) in the form of an equity or equity-linked instrument. Pending the resolution of the regulatory issues associated with the acquisition of VNA [Verallia North America], we have decided to temporarily put on hold the negotiations regarding this equity sale,” the company said last week.


“We are disappointed in the action that the FTC [Federal Trade Commission] has taken. We believe the transaction will benefit glass container customers and is fully consistent with the anti-trust laws. Ardagh intends to vigorously defend the transaction in litigation, whilst at the same time working with the FTC to seek to resolve its concerns.”

Barchester, the UK nursing home business owned by Irish investors including JP McManus and John Magnier, has struck a deal to refinance its £1.4 billion debt, the Sunday Business Post reports.

Some £1 billion of debt matures next month and a deal is now in the site, the paper said, quoting HCP, a US-based real estate investment trusts which briefed shareholders last week that a refinancing would be completed next month.

Barchester has a portfolio of care homes that were valued at €31.2 billion in November 2011. There is £914 million of debt secured against them and another £463 million in debt accrued as results of interest and inflation rate swaps.