Deutsche Bank Injects €150M Into Aktua Ahead Of Its Sale

17 November 2015 – Expansión

Aktua is up for sale. Banesto’s former real estate arm was acquired by the US fund Centerbridge in 2012, at the height of the financial crisis.

Now, more than three years later, it is time to capitalise on that operation in an economic scenario that is very different from the one seen in 2012; but before completing the transfer, Centerbridge has been “adorning” Aktua so that the operation closes in the best possible way for the firm. In this way, it has undertaken a comprehensive reorganisation of the company’s financial structure.

To achieve this, Centerbridge has not resorted to traditional channels. It was not averse to that option and in fact, it was there that it took its first steps, but the offer of a direct loan then crossed its path. “Aktua received financing offers from several commercial banks, but then one entity offered it a different structure, which was interesting as it allowed more leverage”, says a financial source.

That entity was Deutsche Bank, but not the bank’s commercial banking division, rather its direct lending team. And that offer changed the plans for Aktua. Centerbridge accepted the offer and the result has been an injection of €150 million in funding, which has been used to refinance the company’s debt and also to enable the owner to recover some of the investment it made in 2012, and to pay a dividend, according to several market sources.

In this way, the money that Centerbridge receives from the sale of Aktua will not be the only return it generates from the operation.

Sharing the risk

The direct loan was structured in two tranches, one amounting to €100 million and the other amounting €50 million, both with a 7-year term, something that is not that easy to find amongst the traditional banks. The first loan was signed between Deutsche Bank and Aktua at the end of May, but that was just the beginning – since then, the financing structure has been evolving. With the money now in the coffers of the recipients, Deutsche Bank has gone one step further and has decided to retain title over the entire second loan tranche, but to syndicate out the first €100 million tranche and whereby share the risk with other entities. Santander, Sabadell and Bankinter all responded to the call and so now the financing is shared between those four entities.

All of them will receive 300 basis points above 3-month Euribor for the €100 million first loan tranche. The €50 million tranche that Deutsche continues to hold has different costs and conditions associated with it.

This operation represents the launch of Deutsche Bank’s direct lending business in Spain. And the debut has been conducted in style: the €150 million injection makes the loan to Aktua the first in the list of the largest transactions performed by the banks so far in 2015.

Meanwhile, Centerbridge is now handling the second phase of the operation, namely: the sale of Aktua. It has engaged the investment banks Barclays and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to coordinate the sale, alongside the law firm Linklaters. According to Reuters, Aktua is worth around €300 million and its sale has sparked interest amongst several international venture capital funds, including the British fund Permira.

Original story: Expansión (by Inés Abril)

Translation: Carmel Drake