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Advent Ventures, LDC merge tech companies

The €81m merger of Snell & Wilcox and Pro-Bel, two of Europe’s biggest broadcast technology companies, will give both private equity firms a 20% stake in the combined entity and provides a partial exit for Advent.

UK-based venture capital firm Advent Venture Partners and mid-market private equity firm Lloyds TSB Development Capital (LDC) have completed an €80.7 million merger of their respective portfolio companies, Snell & Wilcox and Pro-Bel. The merger creates a company with more than 2,000 customers in 100 countries.

Both firms will hold a roughly 20 percent share each in the combined entity, with LDC managing director Kevan Leggett and Advent general partner Peter Bain joining its board of directors. The deal was supported by a €28 million package of senior debt and working capital facilities provided by The Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC.

Snell & Wilcox and Pro-Bel are both based in the UK and develop technology products for the broadcast industry. As a result of the merger, Snell & Wilcox spin-off AmberFin has separated from its parent company and will be an independent entity under the ownership of Advent.

Advent originally invested €15 million in Snell & Wilcox in 2002 and has since reorganised its business and recruited a new management team in order to increase its profitability, while LDC invested €12 million in Pro-Bel in 2003. Advent also recently exited hormone developer Thiakis following its sale to pharmaceuticals group Wyeth for €105 million.

Advent has around €560 million under management and invests in biopharmaceuticals, software and IT, with its technology investments including Cartesis, a growth capital investment sold to Business Objects for $300 million, systems provider Ubiquisys and European search and review site Qype.

Meanwhile, LDC has completed more than 400 investments since 1981 and has ongoing interests in more than 60 businesses across the UK. It recently committed $30 million to a Chinese growth fund after opening an office in Hong Kong.