Goldsmith in Line Up for Petroplus Plants

More potential buyers lined up for the assets of insolvent refiner Petroplus on Thursday, with private equity group Goldsmith registering interest in all five of its plants, writes Reuters. Swiss-based Petroplus is filing for insolvency after battling with high debt and poor refining margins.

Reuters - More potential buyers lined up for the assets of insolvent refiner Petroplus on Thursday, with private equity group Goldsmith registering interest in all five of its plants.

Swiss-based Petroplus, Europe’s largest independent refinery by capacity, is filing for insolvency after battling with high debt and poor refining margins.

The company was forced to close three of its refineries, including Petit Couronne in France, after lenders froze credit lines late in December.

Goldsmith, already a shareholder in Petroplus through a fund, said it had registered its interest with the refiner’s administrators in Germany, Britain and Switzerland.

“Petroplus’ refinery businesses in Germany, Britain and Switzerland, but also in France and Belgium, are sustainable and interesting, despite the current difficulties in this sector,” Goldsmith Group said in a statement.

Goldsmith plans to carry out due diligence on parts of the business in Belgium and France, it said.

A spokesman for the administrators of the Petroplus Ingolstadt refinery in Germany declined to comment on possible investors.

French Energy Minister Eric Besson told France Info radio there were a number of potential buyers for the Petroplus French refinery at Petit Couronne.

Swiss investment vehicle Gary Klesch Group said last week it was considering purchasing the French plant, which stopped production last month, and possibly other refineries owned by Petroplus.

Besson said he hoped he could announce the restart of the refinery within the next 15 days.

The company’s UK refinery at Coryton has attracted more than 40 interested parties, UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry said.

“I understand there have been over 40 expressions of interest in Coryton from companies around the world, which is extremely encouraging. Work will now focus on securing a sustainable long-term future for the refinery,” Hendry said.

DOUBTS

Founded by German businessman Clemens J. Vedder in 2007, Goldsmith dropped out of a bidding race in 2009 for German retailer Metro’s department store chain Kaufhof.

Industry analysts said they doubted private equity groups would be able to turn around Petroplus, because the structural problems facing European refiners had defeated even the biggest oil companies.

Poor margins have forced several European refiners to put plants on the market, and some have been unable to find buyers.

“The majors could not make money out of those assets, and now you have some private equity groups, be it Klesch or Goldsmith, that supposedly can make it better. I doubt it very much,” said Olivier Jakob, an energy analyst at consultancy Petromatrix.

“In the long term, those refineries need somebody involved in the oil trade - a supplier from ex-Russian republics or Asia, not just a financial group that just buys something distressed and then tries to sell it two years afterwards.”

The leveraged finance market, one way private equity groups raise money for purchases, is difficult to tap, bankers say, casting some doubt on the number of potential buyers for Petroplus.

“We need to take things with a pinch of salt. Most oil companies and private equity companies will have, at the very least, kicked the tyres and attempted to get as much information as possible. How many of them are serious (and at what price) is another matter,” said one analyst who has looked at Petroplus.

Refining industry analyst Roy Jordan at Facts Global Energy says more closures are needed for processing margins to recover.

“We can see nothing on the horizon which would provide relief to existing European refiners without a reduction in capacity,” Jordan said. “We cannot see a future for new investment in European refinery distillation capacity. And it is difficult to see how deals with large debt and leverage would be attractive on a sustained basis.”

Shares in Petroplus have plunged since lenders froze credit lines in late December. They jumped 73.4 percent to 1.11 Swiss francs at 1619 GMT.


Hutchison to Buy Orange Austria from France Telecom

Hong Kong’s Hutchison 3G will buy Orange Austria from France Telecom and a private equity fund in a deal valued at 1.3 billion euros ($1.7 billion) including debt, writes Reuters. The deal by the unit of Hutchison Whampoa follows a cluster of outbound M&A transactions from Asia in early 2012 as firms with large cash piles and low debt buy assets in Europe, where economies are struggling with the debt crisis, writes Reuters.

Reuters - Hong Kong’s Hutchison 3G will buy Orange Austria from France Telecom and a private equity fund in a deal valued at 1.3 billion euros ($1.7 billion) including debt, expanding the corporate footprint in Europe of one of Asia’s richest men.

The deal by the unit of Hutchison Whampoa follows a cluster of outbound M&A transactions from Asia in early 2012 as firms with large cash piles and low debt buy assets in Europe, where economies are struggling with the debt crisis.

Hutchison said on Friday it would buy 100 percent of Orange Austria, confirming an earlier Reuters story. Hutchison shares rose as much as 3.8 percent to HK$76.20 on the news, bucking a flat overall market.

Hutchison, controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, has been shopping for regulated infrastructure and utility assets in developed countries, especially Britain, which is open to foreign ownership of its infrastructure assets.

“It is definitely a positive for the future development as the acquisition cost can be lower in the current economic climate,” said Conita Hung, head of equity research at Delta Asia Financial Group.

“It is a good opportunity for those financially strong companies to buy assets in Europe, especially if they believe in the strong growth prospect,” she said.

Li’s business empire bought British utility Northumbrian Water Group for 2.41 billion pounds ($3.81 billion) last year, having paid 5.8 billion pounds to buy the British electricity distribution network of France EDF in 2010.

Li, a high-school drop-out nicknamed “Superman” by Hong Kong media for his deal-making savvy, started out with a plastic flower business and now has a global empire with 26,000 employees in 55 countries.

So far in 2012, Asian corporates have launched about $9.3 billion worth of outbound deals, compared with $181 billion worth transactions attempted the whole of last year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

High-profile deals this year include Shandong Heavy Industry Group’s purchase of a 75 percent stake in debt-laden Italian yacht-maker Ferretti Group and China Investment Corp’s purchase of an 8.7 percent stake in the holding company of Thames Water, the privately held UK utility.

No.3 IN AUSTRIA

Hutchison 3G Austria already operates under the ‘3′ brand, competing against Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile and A1.

Hutchison said the deal would make it Austria’s third-biggest mobile phone operator, with 2.8 million customers and a 22 percent market share. The two units had combined revenues of more than 700 million euros in 2011.

“Overall, we do think the deal offers one of the few relatively visible paths to long-term sustained profitability for 3 Austria,” Bank of America/Merrill Lynch said in a report.

As a second leg of the deal, Hutchison will sell some of Orange Austria’s assets to Telekom Austria for 390 million euros, Telekom said separately.

The assets comprise frequencies, base station sites, mobile phone operator YESSS! Telekommunikation GmbH and certain intellectual property rights, the statement added.

Hutch’s net consideration is 900 million euros, giving the business an enterprise value to EBITDA multiple of 6.9 times.

Bank of America/Merrill Lynch said that the multiple paid by Hutch “is at the high end of comparable private transaction multiples, but below the 7.6 previously speculated.”

EXIT LOW-GROWTH MARKETS

For France Telecom, the sale is the second deal in an ongoing portfolio review aimed at exiting low-growth mature markets and returning cash to shareholders. It recently agreed to sell Orange Switzerland to private equity group Apax Partners for about 1.6 billion euros.

Orange Austria is jointly owned by France Telecom and Mid-Europa Partners.

France Telecom said it expected cash proceeds of 70 million euros from the sale of its 35 percent equity stake in the Austrian business, which had around 1 billion euros of debt. It described the move as “another milestone in the optimisation” of its asset portfolio following the Swiss transaction.

The French company will likely now announce a share buyback programme for up to around 800 million euros, or half of the proceeds of the two sales, according to Raymond James analysts.

“This would also leave more than enough to pay for half of the acquisition of minority interests in Mobistar while the other half would be paid by potential tax synergies,” the analysts said, referring to the Belgian mobile phone operator in which France Telecom is majority shareholder.

Shares in France Telecom were down slightly, in line with the French bluechip CAC 40 index, and have fallen about 5.5 percent so far this year.

Hutchison also owns 3G wireless network operations in Britain, Italy and Australia, among other countries. It competes with Britain’s biggest mobile operator, Everything Everywhere — a joint venture of Orange and T-Mobile — Telefonica SA’s O2 and Vodafone Group Plc.

The wireless business had been losing money over the past decade, but broke even in the second half of 2010 and recovered further last year. Hutchison said it was expected to contribute to the conglomerate’s profits in the second half of 2011.

J.P. Morgan advised Hutchison group on the purchase, while Morgan Stanley advised the sellers, a source familiar with the process said. The source was not authorised to speak to the media.


Policard Leaves Morgan Stanley for KKR

Vincent Policard joins KKR as a director in the firm’s infrastructure team. Policard, who will be based in London, will be responsible for originating and executing transactions in the European infrastructure sector. He joins from Morgan Stanley where he was part of the infrastructure fund team.

PRESS RELEASE

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (together with its affiliates, “KKR”) today announced the appointment of Vincent Policard as a Director in its Infrastructure team. Vincent, who will be based in London, will be responsible for originating and executing transactions in the European infrastructure sector. He joins KKR from Morgan Stanley, where he most recently spent three years in the firm’s infrastructure fund team (MSI). Here he was responsible for originating and executing transactions in the European infrastructure sector, most notably playing a leading role in MSI’s investments in Madrilena Red de Gas, the Spanish gas distributor, and Eversholt Rail Group, the UK rolling stock leasing company.

Over the last year, KKR’s global infrastructure fund made four significant investments, with three of these coming from the European Infrastructure team: in June it partnered with Sorgenia to invest in operating wind assets in France, in July it partnered with Munich Re to acquire a 49% equity stake in Grupo T-Solar, the largest European solar photovoltaic (PV) power generator, and in November it partnered with Criteria CaixaHolding, Torreal, and ProA Capital to acquire an equity stake in Saba Infraestructuras, a leading car parks and logistics operator. In December, KKR’s U.S. infrastructure fund formed a partnership with Google to acquire a portfolio of solar PV projects in California from Recurrent Energy. The partnership involved the creation by KKR of SunTap, a new venture to invest in solar projects in the U.S.

Commenting on his appointment, Vincent said: “Infrastructure as an asset class offers tremendous opportunities and I am excited to be joining such a strong and growing team in this area. KKR has the skills, track record and ambition to become a leader in infrastructure and also brings a great spirit of partnership to each investment it enters. I look forward to applying my experience to further establish KKR’s global infrastructure platform.”

Marc Lipschultz, Global Head of KKR’s Energy and Infrastructure business, said: “Today’s announcement represents a further step in the development of KKR’s energy and infrastructure effort. Being able to attract such senior talent to KKR is a testimony to the growing strength of our infrastructure franchise. Vincent brings with him significant transaction experience, having spent fifteen years in the financial and investing industries and he also has a strong knowledge of all key European markets and established relationships across the sector. He led his teams at Morgan Stanley on notable investments in the infrastructure space and we look forward to welcoming him to the team at KKR.”

Jesus Olmos, European Head of KKR’s Infrastructure Fund, added: “We are very pleased to welcome Vincent to our Energy & Infrastructure team in London. Vincent brings complementary skills to the existing team in terms of execution capabilities and geographic reach, and we look forward to working with him as we build on our strong position in the European energy & infrastructure sector.”

Prior to his most recent role, Vincent spent nine years in Morgan Stanley’s investment banking division, providing advice on M&A and financing issues to corporates and financial sponsors across a variety of sectors and geographies. Before joining Morgan Stanley, Vincent spent three years in BNP Paribas’ investment banking division, based in Frankfurt.

About KKR

Founded in 1976 and led by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, KKR is a leading global investment firm with $58.7 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2011. With offices around the world, KKR manages assets through a variety of investment funds and accounts covering multiple asset classes. KKR seeks to create value by bringing operational expertise to its portfolio companies and through active oversight and monitoring of its investments. KKR complements its investment expertise and strengthens interactions with investors through its client relationships and capital markets platform. KKR is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: KKR). For additional information, please visit KKR’s website at www.kkr.com.


United Silver and Hale Capital Partners Complete $6M Financing

United Silver Corp., a mining company based in Vancouver, has finalized its agreement with New York-based private equity firm Hale Capital Partners, which has issued USC $6 million in secured convertible notes. Proceeds of the loan will be used for working capital and general corporate purposes.

PRESS RELEASE:

United Silver Corp. (”USC” or the “Company”) CA:USC -1.37%  (otcqx:USCZF) and Hale Capital Partners (”Hale” or the “Lender”) are pleased to announce that, subject to final approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange (the “TSX”), they have successfully closed their previously announced financing transaction. USC is now in a position to begin its four-year exploration and development plan to test the mineralization of the South Vein and Alhambra Vein at depth and along the east/west strike extensions of the veins.

In the financing transaction, USC issued to Hale a convertible note (the “Convertible Note”) in the principal amount of USD$6,300,000 (being the Canadian equivalent of $6,332,760.00, based on the Bank of Canada noon rate on January 31, 2012) evidencing a loan the proceeds of which were advanced by Hale pursuant to the Convertible Note and a securities purchase agreement (the “Securities Purchase Agreement”) entered into among a wholly owned subsidiary of Hale, as agent and initial purchaser, and USC. USC also issued to Hale 5,040,000 common share purchase warrants (the “Warrants”). Hale will have the right at any time to convert any or all of the principal owing under the Convertible Note into common shares (”USC Common Shares”) of USC at a conversion price of USD$0.50 (being the Canadian equivalent of $0.50, based on the Bank of Canada noon rate on January 31, 2012) per USC Common Share. In addition, Hale will have the right at any time to convert any or all of the accrued and unpaid interest that USC has elected (provided that USC has satisfied certain conditions set out in the Convertible Note) to add to the principal amount of the Convertible Note (”PIK Interest”). The conversion price with respect to PIK Interest will be an amount equal to the “market price” (as defined in the Toronto Stock Exchange Manual) on the applicable interest payment date, subject to the approval of the TSX in each instance. Each whole Warrant will entitle the holder to acquire one USC Common Share at an exercise price of US$0.42 (being the Canadian equivalent of $0.42, based on the Bank of Canada noon rate on January 31, 2012) per USC Common Share for a period of four years from the date of issuance.

If the principal amount of the Convertible Note is fully converted, Hale would hold 12,600,000 or 14.4% of the total number of issued and outstanding USC Common Shares. In the event that all of the Warrants are also exercised, Hale’s holdings would increase to 17,640,000 or 19% of the total number of issued and outstanding USC Common Shares. As the number of USC Common Shares issuable to Hale in respect of PIK Interest, if any, is contingent, in part, upon future values and share prices, the number of USC Common Shares which Hale may acquire should it exercise its conversion rights in respect thereof cannot be determined at this time.

None of the Convertible Note, the Warrants or the USC Common Shares that may be issued upon conversion or exercise, respectively, of these securities, have been registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”), or the securities laws of any state of the United States, and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption therefrom under the 1933 Act and the securities laws of all applicable states.

Under the terms of the Securities Purchase Agreement, USC is required to appoint to its board a person mutually agreed upon with Hale and to permit an observer from Hale to attend its Board meetings, subject to conditions.

Hale has filed an early warning acquisition report on SEDAR. A copy of the report may be obtained by contacting Martin Hale at (212) 751-8228.

USC intends to use the net proceeds from the financing for exploration and development and working capital purposes. The loan proceeds will allow USC to continue its exploration and development drifting, bulk sampling and test mining on the South Vein. USC proposes to mill ore from the bulk sampling and test mining under a milling JV agreement with New Jersey Mining Company and to refine it under a contract with Formation Metals at its refinery located less than three miles from the mill. USC intends to use cash generated from operations, including the bulk sampling and test mining activities, to fund an extensive surface and underground drilling program to test the mineralization of the entire Crescent property and develop a property-wide mine plan without further equity raises and dilution.

Hale may or may not purchase or sell securities of the Company in the future on the open market or in private transactions, depending on market conditions and other factors material to Hale’s investment decisions and reserves the right to dispose of any or all of its securities in the open market or otherwise, at any time and from time to time and to engage in hedging or similar transactions with respect to the securities.

ABOUT UNITED SILVER CORP.

USC is a vertically integrated mining company with operations in Idaho, USA. It has earned, through development and operations, an 80% interest in the Crescent Silver Mine project in Idaho’s prolific Silver Belt - directly between two of the world’s historically largest silver producing properties, the Sunshine and Bunker Hill mines. USC also offers a full suite of mining services including contract mining and mine machine repair and fabrication services to silver miners in the district. USC’s common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “USC”. For more information about USC, please visit: www.unitedsilvercorp.com .

ABOUT HALE CAPITAL PARTNERS

Based in New York City, Hale Capital Partners has established itself as a leading private equity firm focused on strategic investments in public companies and their subsidiaries. Hale Capital Partners’ team is comprised of seasoned private equity veterans and entrepreneurs, who bring not only deep domain expertise but also hands-on operating experience to help build highly successful companies. Hale Capital Partners’ mining portfolio spans all stages of mine development from exploration to commercial production.

Hale’s contact information is as follows:

Hale Capital Partners, L.P.

570 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor

New York, NY 10022

Attn: Martin Hale, CEO and Portfolio Manager

ON BEHALF OF UNITED SILVER CORP.

Graham Clark, Chairman and Interim CEO

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: This press release contains forward-looking statements, which address future events and conditions, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements in this press release include statements about USC’s intended use of the net proceeds and that they will enable USC to continue its exploration and development activities, its proposal to mill ore under a milling agreement with New Jersey Mining Company and refine it under a contract with Formation Metals, its intent to use cash from operations to fund an extensive surface and underground drilling program and that it can develop a property-wide mine plan without further equity raises and dilution. These forward-looking statements are based on the expectations and opinions of the Company’s management on the date the statements are made. The assumptions used in the preparation of such statements, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be imprecise and, as such, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements. These assumptions include management’s assumption that the net proceeds of the financing, together with revenue from operations, will generate sufficient cash flow to fund the budget and that the price for metals will continue to make the Company’s activities economically feasible. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors beyond the Company’s control. These risks and uncertainties include the risks inherent in the Company’s activities and the risks identified in the Company’s periodic disclosure filings on the SEDAR website maintained by the Canadian Securities Administrators. The Company expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

The TSX has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of the content of this news release.


Private Equity Takes Steps to Fight Bad Rep–UPDATED

The private equity industry is fighting back against the deluge of bad press caused by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

First up is the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, the advocacy organization that represents the industry. Are PE firms merely corporate raiders whose only intent is to destroy jobs and reap huge profits? Of course not, the PEGCC says.

The group maintains that the PE industry is “simply misunderstood, and actually helps boost the economy by strengthening companies and creating jobs,” according to The Hill.

The PEGCC today unveiled a new campaign, “Private Equity at Work,” that aims to fight those baseless attacks. The effort comes with a new website, www.PrivateEquityAtWork.com, and a resource center that provides educational content, industry data and an “in-depth look at specific PE investments that are driving growth and creating jobs,” PEGCC says in a statement.

UPDATE: Tony James, Blackstone’s heir apparent, also fought back today during the buyout shops Q4 earnings call. James said it was distressing to see “vicious, politically motivated attacks on the private equity business that are both inaccurate and unfair,” the Financial Times reports. While a few deals don’t work out, James says that “these exceptions provide anecdotal fodder for political attack ads.”

“Private equity helps preserve and restore America’s aging industries and moribund assets,” he says in the story. “This takes both large amounts of capital and true operating expertise.” The Blackstone president then cited a $670 million modernization program the buyout shop has undertaken at a U.S. oil refinery, the FT says.

In the Wall Street Journal, Armand Lauzon writes about his experience as CEO of three companies owned by the Carlyle Group. Lauzon was required to put his own capital into the companies, he says. “My clear mandate at every company has been to increase revenues, develop new products and markets, drive profitability, and create a sustainable business for the benefit of shareholders, management and employees. Our view has been distinctly long-term,” says Lauzon, in the story. Lauzon is currently the CEO of Sequa Corp., which Carlyle bought in 2007.

My favorite today? David Rubenstein’s comments about the upcoming Carlyle IPO. Rubenstein, a Carlyle Group co-founder, says he’s taking the firm public to “liquefy” his stake and doesn’t plan to keep all of his riches. “I’m committed to giving away the bulk of my money. If I have money that is available to me as a result of some factors, that’s what I’m going to do with it,” Rubenstein says in the story.

Rubenstein also goes on to defend Romney and his low tax rate. Earlier this month, Romney revealed that he and his wife paid an effective tax rate of 13.9% in 2010. They expect to pay 15.4% when they file in 2011. Yowza. (Yours truly pays around 28%.) Romney’s tax rate is low because most of his income flows from capital gains on investments, according to Reuters.

“When people comply with the law, they shouldn’t be criticized by people who say, ‘The law says you’re supposed to pay X, you should have paid 2X,’” Rubenstein says in the Bloomberg story. “Change the law if you don’t think the law is appropriate.”

SandRidge Energy to Acquire Dynamic Offshore Resources for $1.27 Billion

Publicly traded SandRidge Energy, an oil and natural gas company headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is planning to acquire Dynamic Offshore Resources for $1.275 billion, consisting of roughly $680 million in cash and approximately 74 million shares of SandRidge common stock valued at $8.02 per share.

PRESS RELEASE:

SandRidge Energy, Inc. (NYSE: SD) has entered into an agreement to acquire Dynamic Offshore Resources, LLC for aggregate consideration of $1.275 billion consisting of approximately $680 million in cash and approximately 74 million shares of SandRidge common stock valued at $8.02 per share.  These oil rich assets will add reserves, production and cash flow at an attractive valuation that is consistent with the achievement of SandRidge’s three year plan to triple EBITDA and double oil production while lowering its debt to EBITDA ratio. Dynamic Offshore Resources operates primarily in water depths of less than 300 feet and their current production is approximately 25 Mboed. Dynamic’s year-end 2011 proved reserves are 62.5 MMboe and are valued at approximately $1.9 billion using SEC net present value discounted at 10 percent (PV-10). Of these reserves, 80% of the value and the quantity are proved developed. Approximately 50% of Dynamic’s current production and proved reserves consists of oil. The acquisition will be accretive to SandRidge’s earnings and cash flow per share as well as improve its leverage metrics.

Tom L. Ward, Chairman and CEO of SandRidge, commented, “The value of this acquisition will be evident immediately in our results. We are acquiring these assets for less than PV-10 of the proved developed reserves and at just over $50,000 per flowing barrel. Additionally, we expect these operations to contribute significant free cash flow in excess of the anticipated annual drilling and recompletion capital budget of $200 million.”

SandRidge has secured $725 million in committed financing from BofA Merrill Lynch, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and The Royal Bank of Scotland plc that the company may use to fund the cash portion of the consideration. In addition, the company’s $790 million borrowing base facility remains undrawn. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2012, subject to customary closing conditions.

BofA Merrill Lynch and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey served as financial advisors to SandRidge in connection with the acquisition. SandRidge is represented by Covington & Burling LLP. Dynamic is represented by Vinson & Elkins LLP.

SandRidge Energy, Inc. Announces Year-End 2011 Operations Results

Total proved reserves, adjusted for asset sales, increased 11% to 471 MMboe

Oil reserves, adjusted for asset sales, increased 17% to 245 MMbo

Reserve replacement of 302%

PV-10 (Non-GAAP) of total proved reserves increased 52% to $6.9 billion

Total production growth of 16% to 23.4 MMboe and 60% growth in oil production

Horizontal Mississippian EUR increased 11% to 456 MMboe per well

Current production 67 Mboed

Drilling Activities

SandRidge Energy averaged 31 rigs operating during 2011 and drilled 970 wells. A total of 943 operated wells were completed and brought on production throughout the year. Currently, the company has 38 rigs operating (including 3 drilling saltwater disposal wells). SandRidge plans to drill 1,139 wells in 2012, all targeting oil.

Permian Basin   The company drilled 803 wells in the Permian Basin throughout 2011. SandRidge presently operates 13 rigs in the Permian Basin, all of which are operating on the Central Basin Platform drilling primarily Grayburg/San Andres vertical wells at depths ranging from 4,500 feet to 7,500 feet. The company plans to drill 759 wells in the Permian Basin in 2012.

Mississippian Play   SandRidge drilled 167 horizontal wells in the Mississippian play in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas during 2011. The company presently has 24 rigs operating in the play, of which 21 are drilling horizontal producer wells with 3 drilling saltwater disposal wells. SandRidge plans to increase the Mississippian rig count by one rig per month throughout 2012 and plans to drill 380 horizontal wells in the play this year.

SandRidge Energy, Inc. Announces Year-End 2011 Reserve Summary

SandRidge increased year-end 2011 proved reserves to 471 MMboe, 11% higher than 2010 proved reserves of 423 MMboe (which reflects the divestment of 123 MMboe during 2011) and represents a reserve replacement ratio of 302%.  The Horizontal Mississippian play and the Central Basin Platform contributed reserve growth of 101 MMboe offset by 30 MMboe of downward revisions to gas reserves primarily in the Pinon field.

Essentially all of SandRidge’s 2011 reserve additions were the result of the company’s drilling program.

SandRidge’s 2011 proved reserves included 2,810 gross (2,438 net) PUD locations. Approximately 86% of the PUDs are located in the Horizontal Mississippian play and Permian Basin.

Forty-nine percent of 2011 proved reserves were proved developed, compared with 41% at year-end 2010.

Approximately 96% of the 2011 PV-10 value is associated with the company’s Horizontal Mississippian and Permian core areas.

The company’s 2011 proved reserves had a PV-10 of $6.9 billion, a 52% increase from 2010. Third party engineers including Netherland Sewell and Lee Keeling evaluated a combined 98% of the total proved PV-10 value.

Conference Call Information

SandRidge will host a conference call to discuss this acquisition on Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 8:00am CST. The telephone number to access the conference call from within the U.S. is 866-713-8310 and from outside the U.S. is 617-597-5308. The passcode for the call is 72728503. An audio replay of the call will be available from February 02, 2012 until 11:59pm CST on March 03, 2012. The number to access the conference call replay from within the U.S. is 888-286-8010 and from outside the U.S. is 617-801-6888. The passcode for the replay is 67246058.

A live audio webcast of the conference call will also be available via SandRidge’s website, www.sandridgeenergy.com, under Investor Relations/Events.  The webcast will be archived for replay on the company’s website for 30 days.

SandRidge Energy, Inc. Earnings Conference Call Information

As a reminder, SandRidge Energy, Inc. will release its 2011 fourth quarter and full-year financial and operational results after the close of trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, February 23, 2012.

The company will host a conference call to discuss these results on Friday, February 24, 2012 at 8:00am CST. The telephone number to access the conference call from within the U.S. is 866-700-6379 and from outside the U.S. is 617-213-8836. The passcode for the call is 14163110. An audio replay of the call will be available from February 24, 2012 until 11:59pm CST on March 23, 2012. The number to access the conference call replay from within the U.S. is 888-286-8010 and from outside the U.S. is 617-801-6888. The passcode for the replay is 58664616.

A live audio webcast of the conference call will also be available via SandRidge’s website, www.sandridgeenergy.com, under Investor Relations/Events.  The webcast will be archived for replay on the company’s website for 30 days.

About SandRidge Energy, Inc.

SandRidge Energy, Inc. is an oil and natural gas company headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with its principal focus on exploration and production. SandRidge and its subsidiaries also own and operate gas gathering and processing facilities and CO2 treating and transportation facilities and conduct marketing and tertiary oil recovery operations. In addition, Lariat Services, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of SandRidge, owns and operates a drilling rig and related oil field services business.

SandRidge focuses its exploration and production activities in the Mid-Continent, Permian Basin, Gulf of Mexico, West Texas Overthrust, and Gulf Coast. For more information, please visit SandRidge’s website at www.sandridgeenergy.com.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements express a belief, expectation or intention and are generally accompanied by words that convey projected future events or outcomes. The forward-looking statements include statements relating to the impact we expect the proposed transaction to have on the company’s operations, financial condition, and financial results, our expectations about our ability to successfully integrate Dynamic’s business with ours, and when we expect to close the proposed transaction. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations and assumptions and analyses made by us in light of our experience and our perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors we believe are appropriate under the circumstances. However, whether actual results and developments will conform with our expectations and predictions is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including the ability to obtain governmental approvals of the acquisition on the proposed terms and schedule, the risk that the Dynamic business will not be integrated successfully with ours, disruption from the transaction making it more difficult to maintain relationships with customers, employees or suppliers, the volatility of oil and natural gas prices, our success in discovering, estimating, developing and replacing oil and natural gas reserves, the availability and terms of capital, changes in economic conditions, regulatory changes, and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. We refer you to the discussion of risk factors in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010 filed with the SEC and our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC for the quarters ended March 31, June 30, and September 30, 2011. All of the forward-looking statements made in this press release are qualified by these cautionary statements. The actual results or developments anticipated may not be realized or, even if substantially realized, they may not have the expected consequences to or effects on our company or our business or operations. Such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.


Iochpe-Maxion Finalizes Acquisition of Hayes Lemmerz

Sao Paulo-based Iochpe-Maxion S.A. announced today that its subsidiary, Iochpe Holdings, has officially acquired Hayes Lemmerz International to create Maxion Wheels, a global wheels business with manufacturing locations in 12 countries.

PRESS RELEASE:

Iochpe-Maxion S.A. (”Iochpe-Maxion”) announced today that its subsidiary, Iochpe Holdings, LLC, has finalized its transaction to acquire Hayes Lemmerz International, Inc. (”Hayes Lemmerz”). The transaction combines the wheel businesses of Iochpe-Maxion and Hayes Lemmerz to create Maxion Wheels, a global wheels business with manufacturing locations in 12 countries and a presence in every major automotive region.

“Iochpe-Maxion is excited to have finalized its transaction to acquire Hayes Lemmerz,” said Dan Ioschpe, CEO of Iochpe-Maxion. “The acquisition of Hayes Lemmerz furthers our strategy of growing our core global business and puts us in an excellent position to offer technologically-advanced products and outstanding services to all of our global customers and to meet their needs in every major geographic region for years to come.”

“Customers will benefit significantly from the transaction,” continued Ioschpe. “As automotive and commercial vehicle manufacturers continue to expand globally, they seek global suppliers who have the resources to invest and grow with them. This acquisition enables us to better meet our customers’ needs by offering a broader and more competitive product line and enhancing service levels.”

Fred Bentley to Lead Maxion Wheels, the New Global Wheel Organization

Fred Bentley, former COO of Hayes Lemmerz, has been named CEO of Maxion Wheels, the new global wheel group of Iochpe-Maxion and will report to Dan Ioschpe. Maxion Wheels will have its headquarters in Northville, Michigan, USA and will combine the wheel businesses of the two companies. “In combining the skills and talents of these two world-class wheel manufacturers, we will be able to better serve the best interests of all our key stakeholders – our customers, our shareholders, our suppliers, and our committed employees all around the world. We anticipate a smooth and successful integration,” Bentley said. “We see many exciting global opportunities, and we have an experienced and talented team ready to pursue them.”


Quantum Telecom Acquires Zebra Technologies

Quantum Telecom, a publicly traded, global provider of network and business support systems for MVNOs, has announced plans to acquire a controlling stake in Israel-based Zebra Technologies, through its subsidiary Forum Mobile Israel.

Forum Mobile Israel is purchasing 51% of Zebra’s shares using Quantum shares and has an option to purchase the remainder of them.

PRESS RELEASE:

Quantum Telecom Inc., a global MVNE - provider of network and business support systems for MVNOs - announced today the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire a controlling stake in Zebra Technologies, a value added distributor of information security and networking brands operating in Israel, through its wholly owned subsidiary Forum Mobile Israel Ltd. With the acquisition, Quantum enhances its position in the telecommunication market and expands its comprehensive offerings.

According to the agreement, Forum Mobile Israel purchases 51% of the outstanding share capital of Zebra Technologies Ltd., in consideration of Quantum shares. Forum Mobile Israel has an option to purchase the additional 49% of the Zebra shares for the same amount.

Zebra, a profitable company with revenues of over US$16Million in 2011, brings to Forum Mobile its information security and networking domain expertise as well as its relationships with leading global software and equipment vendors. The cutting-edge solutions distributed by Zebra Technologies, such as Juniper, Trend Micro and VMware, complement Forum Mobile’s offering. This synergy will allow Forum Mobile to provide a flexible, end-to-end solution that can address a telecom operator’s needs, including the establishment of data centers.

“Operators are facing growing security issues in addition to their networking core requirements. As a result, they have made the implementation of information security products, such as those distributed by Zebra Technologies, a top priority,” said Benny Yehezkel, Executive Vice President of Forum Mobile. “We are committed to offer the very best. As part of our long-term strategy, we are complementing our existing MVNE platform with Zebra Technologies’ product line.”

The acquisition strengthens Forum Mobile’s offering, allowing it to provide end to end solutions to MVNOs and low tier MNOs globally.

“With this and additional acquisitions we are considering, Forum Mobile strengthens its balance sheet and financial stability,” said Ami Segal, Forum Mobile’s Chairman.

“We are proud of our success in building a winning brand offering that serves tier-one telecom operators and enterprises,” said Eli Vudinsky, Zebra Technologies founder and CEO. “Zebra is delighted to become an integral part of Forum Mobile, a leading telecommunication solution player. By joining forces with Forum Mobile, we believe we are well positioned to provide the industry a leading offering.”

About Forum Mobile (http://www.forum-mobile.com)

Quantum Telecom, Inc. d/b/a Forum Mobile is a global Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) with international presence. Forum Mobile provides MVNOs with a turn-key solution portfolio and service needed for their operations, market position and business expansion - starting with infrastructure and IT through MNO agreements, applications and handsets.

Forward Looking Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning our marketing and operations plans. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements in this press release are made based on management’s current expectations and estimates, which involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements. These statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, risks related to the Telecommunication and MVNO market, value added distribution market, our ability to successfully market and sell our products in America, Europe and other territories, general economic conditions and other risk factors. We do not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements made herein.


Corey Panno Appointed President of Telmar Group

Telmar, a New York-based software and services company that caters to the ad industry, has appointed Corey Panno president of Telmar Group. Formerly the president of Telmar North America, Panno will assume management responsibility for all worldwide business units.

Panno joined Telmar in 1989 as an account executive. Before then, he held media planning roles both on the agency and client sides at J. Walter Thompson and the Bristol-Myers Company.

PRESS RELEASE:

Telmar, a global supplier of advertising media software and services, announced today the appointment of Corey Panno to President of Telmar Group Inc. Formerly President, Telmar North America, Panno will assume management responsibility for all worldwide business units and Development and IT corporate services. Stanley Federman, Chairman and CEO who previously held the President title as well, will continue to focus on new market expansion, global corporate strategies, and research and development activities.

Panno’s appointment parallels the expansion of MediaVision, Telmar’s philosophy and platform that ensures accountable advertising outcomes through integrated marketing and media planning processes.

Telmar’s alliance with Rex Briggs’ Marketing Evolution has helped advance MediaVision by dynamically incorporating key performance indicators into media planning. Panno will continue to take a lead role in this venture as a champion of both real time, and ROI-centric media planning.

“With marketers both having access to and grappling with large amounts of data, new media alternatives, a changing consumer purchasing dynamic and multiple technology platforms, the industry needs professionals with vision and the capacity to create meaningful solutions. Corey Panno is exactly that type of leader,” said Stanley Federman, Chairman and CEO, Telmar.

Panno added, “It is an exciting time for Telmar, and the industry. I’m looking forward to challenging ourselves and our clients worldwide to explore new models of media planning efficiency and efficacy.”

A media planning expert, prior to joining Telmar in 1989, Panno held media planning roles both on the agency and client sides at J. Walter Thompson and the Bristol-Myers Company, respectively. Panno joined Telmar as an Account Executive, and was quickly promoted through the positions of Manager of Client Services, Director of Product Quality and Production, and the corporate position of Global Director of IT and Product Design.

In his 20 + year tenure at Telmar, Panno has stewarded significant periods of growth, particularly in the design and development of Telmar’s unique software distribution system, eTelmar, and many of Telmar’s software and data management products and services. Mr. Panno has been President of Telmar’s US and Canadian Business Units and a member of the senior management team for Telmar Group Inc. since 2009.

About Telmar

Telmar is a world-wide leading supplier of advertising and media information software and services. Telmar’s 10,000 users across 85 countries include many of the world’s leading advertising agencies, digital and print publishers, broadcasters and advertisers.  For advertisers and advertising agencies, Telmar provides software for survey analysis, data integration, media planning and optimization and more.  For digital and print publishers, broadcasters and outdoor operators, Telmar offers the ability to collect, store and manage media research for media planning, media sales, revenue management and optimization. Telmar has offices around the world and is headquartered in New York City, New York. For more information on Telmar and its international services, please visit www.telmar.com.


Gulf Capital Close to Deal for Reach Group

Abu Dhabi-based private equity firm Gulf Capital is close to sealing a deal to buy 80% of consultancy firm Reach Group, Reuters reported Thursday. Gulf Capital will be closing the transaction during the first quarter this year through its $533 million Private Equity Fund II, Reuters wrote. The value of the deal is estimated at around 100 million dirhams ($27 million).

(Reuters) - Abu Dhabi-based private equity firm Gulf Capital is in the final stage of acquiring close to 80 percent of regional consultancy firm Reach Group, two sources close to the transaction told Reuters.

Gulf Capital will be closing the transaction during the first quarter this year through its $533 million Private Equity Fund II, one of the sources said.

The deal may be valued at around 100 million dirhams ($27 million), according to the source. The sources did not want to be identified as the matter has not been made public yet.

Abu Dhabi-based Reach Group, founded in 1999, offers management consulting, information technology, recruitment and outsourcing services. It has offices in the UAE, Kuwait and Jordan, according to the company website.

Neither Gulf Capital Chief Executive Karim El Solh nor executives at Reach Group were available for comment.

El Solh had told Reuters in an interview in November the company was in the final stages of acquiring majority stakes in four regional firms.

The company last month acquired an 82.7-percent stake in power generation provider Sakr Energy Solutions FZCO. It did not provide the value of the deal.

A potential deal would be Gulf Capital’s second this year despite a sharp drop in private equity investments in the Gulf. Investors backing out of capital calls, sellers demanding higher prices than buyers were willing to pay and increasing competition from family groups hampered the growth of the industry.

Gulf Capital, which currently has around $1 billion of assets under management, is planning to exit two investments in 2012, including its stake in Gulf Marine Services (GMS) — a regional jack-up and support barge company — Solh said in September.

In July, Gulf Capital and another regional PE firm Amwal AlKhaleej sold their stakes in Maritime Industrial Services in a $336 million deal to Lamprell Plc in one of the rare private equity exits from the region. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams) (Reporting By Mirna Sleiman; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)


CVC’s Ahlsell Deal to Include $1.2B in Debt

Buyout firm CVC will employ more than $1.2 billion in debt in its buyout of Ahlsell, Sweden’s largest supplier of tools and building materials, Reuters reported Thursday. According to Reuters, it is the largest loan to back a leveraged buyout in Western Europ since WorldPay’s acquisition by Advent International and Bain Capital in 2010.

(Reuters) - More than $1.2 billion of loans will be used to back private equity firm CVC’s buyout of Sweden’s largest supplier of tools and building materials Ahlsell, bankers said on Thursday.

It is the largest loan to back a leveraged buyout in Western Europe since global payments services business WorldPay’s acquisition by Advent International and Bain Capital in 2010, and the largest buyout loan in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) since Polish telecoms firm Polkomtel in August 2011.

CVC entered exclusive talks for Ahlsell in January following an auction process and sellers Cinven and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners had been seeking some 16 billion Swedish crowns ($2.4 billion) for the business.

CVC is now in discussions with banks including Goldman Sachs, Nordea and Deutsche Bank over a debt package which will come in at more than $1.2 billion, denominated in euros and Swedish crowns, or just over 4 times the company’s EBITDA (earnings before, interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation).

The loan is higher than the 8 billion Swedish crowns staple financing package originally offered to all bidders by Goldman Sachs and Nordea which was based on earnings for the twelve months to October, after the company’s full year results improved EBITDA levels.

The buyout loan is one of a handful that have emerged since the beginning of the year including the 850 million Swiss franc ($931 million) loan backing the acquisition of Orange Switzerland by Apax Partners; the 555 million pound ($880 million) equivalent loan backing CPA Global’s buyout by Cinven; and the loan being put together for the potential sale of UK frozen food supermarket Iceland Foods.

($1 = 6.7213 Swedish crowns)

($1 = 0.9130 Swiss francs)

($1 = 0.6306 British pounds) (Reporting by Claire Ruckin, Editing by Mark Potter)


Lightyear Capital Buys PE-backed Paradigm Management

Lightyear Capital has acquired Paradigm Management Services, a provider of healthcare management services, from Sterling Partners. Middle-market investment bank Harris Williams & Co. announced the deal, which closed on Wednesday. Terms were not released. Harris Williams & Co advised Paradigm.

PRESS RELEASE
Harris Williams & Co., a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide, announces the sale of Paradigm Management Services (Paradigm), a leading provider of healthcare management services, to Lightyear Capital (Lightyear). Paradigm was a portfolio company of Sterling Partners (Sterling). The transaction closed on February 1, 2012 and was led by the firm’s Healthcare & Life Sciences (HCLS) Group. Harris Williams & Co. acted as an advisor to Paradigm.

“We are thrilled to have represented Paradigm and Sterling in this transaction. Paradigm is a unique business that produces better clinical outcomes for severely injured workers at significantly lower medical cost. The transaction exemplifies the demand for companies with innovative business models that drive better results and have the potential to change the cost equation in healthcare,” said Todd Morris, a managing director in Harris Williams & Co.’s San Francisco office.

Headquartered in Walnut Creek, CA, Paradigm is a growing provider of catastrophic and pain care management services designed to dramatically improve clinical outcomes for injured workers and significantly reduce costs. Paradigm has a specialized network and acts as a medical hub connecting people with catastrophic injuries and chronic pain to nationally recognized expert doctors and specialists, best-in-class care facilities, and robust clinical data to guide decisions that deliver superior results. The company primarily provides its services to workers’ compensation insurance carriers and self insured companies and municipalities.

Sterling is a leading private equity firm with over 25 years of experience partnering with entrepreneurs to build market-leading businesses. With approximately $5 billion of assets under management, Sterling invests growth capital in industries with positive, long-term trends and provides ongoing support to management through a dedicated team of industry veterans, operators, strategy experts and human capital professionals. Sterling is a leader in education, healthcare and business services and has offices in Chicago, Baltimore, and Miami.

Lightyear is a leading private equity firm primarily making control investments in North America-based, middle market financial services companies. Based in NY, Lightyear, through its affiliated funds, has managed approximately $3 billion of committed capital with investments across the financial services spectrum, including asset management, banking, brokerage, financial technology, insurance and specialty finance.

Harris Williams & Co. (www.harriswilliams.com), a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:PNC), is a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide. The firm has deep industry knowledge, global transaction expertise, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Harris Williams & Co. provides sell-side and acquisition advisory, restructuring advisory, board advisory, private placements, and capital markets advisory services.

The firm’s HCLS Group focuses on transactions across the spectrum of healthcare market segments. For more information, contact Todd Morris in San Francisco at +1 (415) 288-4260 or Turner Bredrup, James Clark or Cheairs Porter in Richmond at +1 (804) 648-0072.

Investment banking services are provided by Harris Williams LLC, a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC, and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Harris Williams & Co. is a trade name under which Harris Williams LLC and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd conduct business in the U.S. and Europe, respectively.


KEMET Buys Niotan

KEMET Corp., a listed manufacturer of tantalum, ceramic, aluminum, film, paper and electrolytic capacitors, will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Niotan Inc. from Denham Capital Management. Niotan has been a significant supplier of tantalum powder to KEMET for several years, the company said in a statement. Terms of the deal were not released.

PRESS RELEASE

KEMET Corporation (NYSE: KEM), a leading manufacturer of tantalum, ceramic, aluminum, film, paper and electrolytic capacitors, announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Niotan Incorporated (”Niotan”), a leading manufacturer of tantalum powders, from an affiliate of Denham Capital Management LP. Niotan has been a significant supplier of tantalum powder to KEMET for several years.

“This acquisition is in keeping with our announced strategic direction to vertically integrate operations and to better control supply sources as well as to contain our cost structure,” said Per Loof, Chief Executive Officer of KEMET. “Acquiring Niotan is a significant step in securing and stabilizing our tantalum powder resources. Additionally, we recently announced a comprehensive plan for sourcing conflict free tantalum ore from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We will continue to purchase a portion of our tantalum powder needs from our existing supply base. Together, these actions have put in place a supply chain that provides customers with confidence in the long-term viability of our tantalum capacitance solutions and will allow for faster to market development of specialty powders from KEMET,” continued Loof.

KEMET will pay an initial purchase price of $30 million at the closing of the transaction and additional deferred payments of $45 million over a thirty month period after the closing. KEMET will also be required to make quarterly royalty payments for tantalum powder produced by Niotan after the closing of the transaction, in an aggregate amount equal to $10,000,000 by December 31, 2014. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, and is expected to close in March 2012.

Niotan’s headquarters and principal operating location is in Carson City, Nevada. Niotan is the largest western hemisphere production location for tantalum capacitor powder and has demonstrated world- class powder quality which has resulted in exceptionally high level qualification with the world’s capacitor manufacturers.

Additional information regarding this acquisition will be provided this Thursday, February 2, at 9 AM EST, during KEMET’s Third Quarter Earnings conference call. Details on how to access the call can be found on kemet.com on the Investor Relations page.

About KEMET

KEMET’s common stock is listed on the NYSE under the symbol “KEM.” At the Investor Relations section of our web site at http://ir.kemet.com/, users may subscribe to KEMET news releases and find additional information about our Company. KEMET applies world class service and quality to deliver industry leading, high performance capacitance solutions to its customers around the world and offers the world’s most complete line of surface mount and through-hole capacitor technologies across tantalum, ceramic, film, aluminum, electrolytic, and paper dielectrics. Additional information about KEMET can be found at http://www.kemet.com.

Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements included herein contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws about KEMET Corporation’s (the “Company”) financial condition and results of operations that are based on management’s current expectations, estimates and projections about the markets in which the Company operates, as well as management’s beliefs and assumptions. Words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” variations of such words and other similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions, which are difficult to predict. Therefore, actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed or forecasted in, or implied by, such forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which reflect management’s judgment only as of the date hereof. The Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly any of these forward-looking statements to reflect new information, future events or otherwise.

Factors that may cause actual outcome and results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements include, but are not necessarily limited to the following: (i) adverse economic conditions could impact the Company’s ability to realize operating plans if the demand for the Company’s products declines, and such conditions could adversely affect the Company’s liquidity and ability to continue to operate; (ii) adverse economic conditions could cause further reevaluation and the write down of long-lived assets; (iii) an increase in the cost or a decrease in the availability of the Company’s principal raw materials; (iv) changes in the competitive environment of the Company; (v) uncertainty of the timing of customer product qualifications in heavily regulated industries; (vi) economic, political, or regulatory changes in the countries in which the Company operates; (vii) difficulties, delays or unexpected costs in completing the Company’s restructuring plan; (viii) the inability to attract, train and retain effective employees and management; (ix) the inability to develop innovative products to maintain customer relationships and offset potential price erosion in older products; (x) exposure to claims alleging product defects; (xi) the impact of laws and regulations that apply to the Company’s business, including those relating to environmental matters; (xii) volatility of financial and credit markets affecting the Company’s access to capital; (xiii) the need to reduce the total costs of the Company’s products to remain competitive; (xiv) potential limitation on the use of net operating losses to offset possible future taxable income; (xv) restrictions in the Company’s debt agreements that limit the Company’s flexibility in operating its business; and (xvi) additional exercise of the warrant by K Equity, LLC which could potentially result in the existence of a significant stockholder who could seek to influence our corporate decisions. Other risks and uncertainties may be described from time to time in the Company’s other reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


H.I.G. Completes Sale of Service Net

H.I.G. Capital, the Miami-based buyout shop, announced Thursday that it has completed the sale of Service Net to Chartis U.S. Inc. Chartis is a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group. Terms of the deal were not released. H.I.G. Capital has invested in Service Net twice in the past several years: The firm recapitalized Service Net in 2004, and exited its investment in 2007. In 2009, H.I.G. re-acquired the company.

PRESS RELEASE
H.I.G. Capital LLC, a leading international private equity firm based in Miami, Florida, announced today that it has completed the sale of Service Net (the “Company”) to Chartis U.S., Inc. (”Chartis”), a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group, Inc. (”AIG”). Service Net is a leading service management company that creates, administers and markets service warranty solutions for original equipment manufacturers (”OEMs”) and specialty retailers covering a wide array of consumer durable products.

Service Net, based in Jeffersonville, Indiana, offers its clients a comprehensive suite of customized service and extended warranty programs for a variety of products including major appliances, consumer electronics, personal computers, handheld devices, mobile phones and heating and ventilation equipment. The Company uniquely focuses on a blue-chip base of OEMs and specialty retailers that utilize warranty and value added service programs as a means to build consumer and brand loyalty.

H.I.G. has partnered with the Service Net executive team on two separate occasions. H.I.G. recapitalized Service Net in 2004 and successfully exited its investment in 2007. In 2009, H.I.G. re-acquired the Company and worked closely with the Service Net team to create material value. Since 2009, the Company has successfully grown through the recruitment of new blue-chip clients, acquisition of a niche third-party administrator and focus on emerging industry verticals. H.I.G. has provided financial support to further invest in Service Net’s world class operating platform. Lansdon Robbins, Founder and Chairman of Service Net, commented, “H.I.G. has been incredibly supportive of our growth strategy, and has been a value-added partner during a key stage of Service Net’s development. Their continued support has been instrumental to our growth.”

Doug Berman, Executive Managing Director of H.I.G., commented, “Our partnership with Service Net’s outstanding management team has been a tremendous success. The organization executed on its well defined growth strategy and extended its leadership position in the industry.”

About H.I.G. Capital

H.I.G. Capital is a leading global private equity investment firm with more than $8.5 billion of equity capital under management, and a team of more than 225 investment professionals. Based in Miami, and with offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York, and San Francisco in the U.S., as well as affiliate offices in London, Hamburg, Madrid, and Paris in Europe, H.I.G. specializes in providing capital to small and medium-sized companies with attractive growth potential. H.I.G. invests in management-led buyouts and recapitalizations of profitable and well managed manufacturing or service businesses. Since its founding in 1993, H.I.G. has invested in and managed more than 200 companies worldwide. The firm’s current portfolio includes more than 50 companies with combined revenues in excess of $8 billion. For more information, please refer to the H.I.G. website at www.higcapital.com .

About Bayside Capital

Bayside Capital is a credit oriented investment firm with more than $4.5 billion under management. Focused on middle market companies, Bayside invests across several segments of the primary and secondary debt capital markets with an emphasis on long term returns. With eleven offices throughout the U.S. and Europe and over 225 investment professionals to draw upon, Bayside Capital has the experience, resources, and flexibility required to provide capital solutions quickly, and the strategic and operational expertise to help support its investments.


ShoreTel Buys M5 Networks

Publicly traded ShoreTel Inc. said Thursday that it would acquire M5 Networks in a deal valued at $146.3 million. The deal includes $84 million in cash, 9.5 million shares of ShoreTel stock and a potential $13.7 million in additional milestone payments. ShoreTel is a maker of IP phone systems.

PRESS RELEASE
ShoreTel Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOR), the leading provider of brilliantly simple IP phone systems with fully integrated unified communications (UC), today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire M5 Networks (“M5”), a recognized leader in hosted Unified Communications. As a result of the acquisition, ShoreTel will be uniquely positioned to provide customers a choice between on-premise and hosted UC solutions.

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, M5 shareholders will receive approximately $84 million in cash and 9.5 million shares of ShoreTel stock, which equates to a total of $146.3 million in initial consideration based on a ShoreTel’s average stock price over the prior 30 trading days. In addition, M5 shareholders may receive additional contingent consideration of up to $13.7 million. The contingent payments are payable over the two years after closing and are based upon the achievement of certain revenue performance milestones for the year ended Dec. 31, 2012.

The acquisition of privately held M5 enables ShoreTel to expand its solutions into the cloud and reach a large and growing market segment of customers that are looking to deploy IP communications through a hosted model. Industry trends such as cloud computing, virtualization, data center economics and the flexibility of services-based models are driving the Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market, which provides businesses another way to bring unified communications to their workforce.

“The acquisition of M5 positions ShoreTel as a leader in the fast-growing cloud UC market and delivers a suite of hosted telephony solutions that is unmatched in the marketplace,” said Peter Blackmore, CEO of ShoreTel. “This acquisition is a critical step in our evolution and enables the company to capitalize on trends in cloud computing and advance our enterprise communications strategy.”

M5 pioneered hosted UC in 2000 and today provides more than 2,000 companies with enterprise-grade communications on a subscription basis. This acquisition positions ShoreTel to be a leading provider in the emerging UCaaS market, enabling it to extend its technology and industry-leading customer satisfaction that are the hallmarks of its value proposition into the cloud through a hosted offering.

According to a report by Gartner[1], the IP Voice as a Service market is expected to show a 36 percent compounded annual growth rate in North America through 2015 to $2.2 billion. With this acquisition, M5 brings the specialized knowledge, infrastructure and skills to give ShoreTel rapid entry into the hosted UC market while maintaining its focus on growing its traditional premise-based UC business.

Combined Value Of ShoreTel And M5

ShoreTel is acquiring M5’s entire operation including its customer base, distribution capability, and proprietary network, and will be extending offers to substantially all of its employees.

Following the close of the acquisition, M5 will be operated as a ShoreTel business unit and will be led by M5 CEO Dan Hoffman, who shares ShoreTel’s brilliantly simple approach to unified communications, and an intense focus on customer satisfaction. Hoffman will become president and general manager of the new business unit.
While the engineering teams will remain separate they will cooperate and coordinate in order to leverage the innovation and best practices of both groups so that both product roadmaps will benefit from the combined capabilities.
The current ShoreTel Champion Partner reseller program will evolve to include the ability to offer hosted services once the reseller has been qualified and certified.

“M5 is proud to be one of the leaders in the UC cloud market. We have achieved this position with a very strong management team and an excellent product offering that is the simplest in the industry,” said Dan Hoffman, CEO of M5 Networks. “Joining forces with ShoreTel enables us to reach our ambitions of scale and cement our position in the hosted UC marketplace.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to close by the end of March 2012. Arbor Advisors acted as financial advisor to M5 Networks, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch acted as financial advisor to ShoreTel.

Webcast and Conference Call Information

ShoreTel will announce its financial results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012 on a conference call and webcast at 1:30 p.m. PST (4:30 p.m. EST) today. To access the conference call, please dial +1-877-874-1565 for callers in the U.S. or Canada and +1-719-325-2313 for international callers and provide the operator with the conference identification number of 9984280. A live webcast will be available in the Investor Relations section of the Company’s corporate website at www.shoretel.com and an archived recording will be available beginning approximately two hours after the completion of the call until the Company’s announcement of its financial results for the next quarter. An audio telephonic replay of the conference call will also be available beginning at approximately 4:30 p.m. PST on Feb. 1, 2012, until 4:30 p.m. PST on Feb. 9, 2012, by dialing +1-888-203-1112 or +1-719-457-0820 for callers outside the U.S. and Canada and providing the conference identification number of 9984280.

Legal Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

ShoreTel assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements included in this release. This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the federal securities laws, including, without limitation, statements by Peter Blackmore relating to the expected benefits of the proposed acquisition, market potential and statements regarding the proposed operation of M5 after closing. The forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. The risks and uncertainties include our ability to integrate M5 Networks, our ability to retain M5 Networks’ customer base, potential unknown liabilities, security breaches or outages which may negatively affect our reputation, managing geographically-dispersed operations, increased risk of intellectual property litigation by entering into new markets, uncertainty as to ShoreTel’s ability to retain and motivate key personnel from the acquired company, increased competition by entering into new markets, the potential for litigation in our industry, and other risk factors set forth in ShoreTel’s Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2011, as updated by our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q on a quarterly basis.

About ShoreTel
ShoreTel, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOR) is the provider of brilliantly simple Unified Communication (UC) solutions based on its award-winning IP business phone system. We offer organizations of all sizes integrated, voice, video, data, and mobile communications on an open, distributed IP architecture that helps significantly reduce the complexity and costs typically associated with other solutions. The feature-rich ShoreTel UC system offers the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) and the highest customer satisfaction in the industry, in part because it is easy to deploy, manage, scale and use. Increasingly, companies around the world are finding a competitive edge by replacing business-as-usual with new thinking, and choosing ShoreTel to handle their integrated business communication. ShoreTel is based in Sunnyvale, California, and has regional offices in Austin, Texas; United Kingdom; Sydney, Australia; and Singapore.


TPG Capital Mulling Bid for Pacific Brands

Buyout shop TPG Capital is mulling a bid for Australian underwear maker Pacific Brands, Reuters reported Thursday. TPG has not tabled a bid for the asset, the source said, but is instead watching developments on the rival bid made by KKR & Co. in January, Reuters wrote.

(Reuters) - Private equity firm TPG Capital has held initial discussions with a group of eight banks to fund a takeover bid for Australian underwear maker Pacific Brands, according to a source familiar with the matter.

TPG has not tabled a bid for the asset, the source said, but is instead watching developments on the rival bid made by KKR & Co in January.

At the time of KKR’s bid, Pacific Brands said there was no certainty that discussions would lead to any agreement.

A second source said the banks that TPG has approached are all existing lenders to Pacific Brands.

Pacific Brands Holdings in 2011 got a A$500 million ($537 million) loan from National Australia Bank, Westpac Banking Corp, ANZ, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and HSBC, according to Thomson Reuters LPC.

A spokeswoman for TPG declined to comment, while a spokeswoman for Pacific Brands said she had no comment on the TPG speculation.

The size of any loan has yet to be finalised, the second source said, adding that discussions are at a very early stage.

Three loans bankers familiar with the company said the protracted slump in Australia’s retail sector meant the amount of debt that could be used on a buyout would be limited.

Two of these sources suggested a maximum buyout loan could be around A$450 million, or three times the company’s earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).

Because Pacific Brands has seasonal expenditure related to garment production, one loans banker said it needs an additional working capital facility of over A$200 million.
(By Narayanan Somasundaram and Stephen Aldred)


China Investment Corp. Takes Stake in EIG

China Investment Corp. has taken a minority stake in Washington-based asset manager EIG Global Energy Partners, Reuters reported Thursday. Asset manager EIG, which invests only in energy, resources and related infrastructure, did not disclose the size or value of the stake taken by CIC, Reuters wrote.

(Reuters) - China Investment Corp (CIC) has acquired a minority stake in Washington-based asset manager EIG Global Energy Partners, the latest energy-related investment from China’s $410 billion sovereign wealth fund.

Asset manager EIG, which invests only in energy, resources and related infrastructure, did not disclose the size or value of the stake taken by CIC.

In December, CIC paid $240 million for a 25 percent in South Africa’s Shanduka Group, an unlisted investment holding company with assets that include coal operations.

The Shanduka deal followed CIC’s purchase of a $4.2 billion stake in a gas exploration unit of French utility GDF Suez SA .

CIC was established in 2007 to invest China’s foreign exchange reserves, and is set to receive a further $50 billion in additional funding, as the government looks to diversify its reserves.

The funds investments are not limited to any particular sector, geography, or asset class and include equity, fixed income and alternative assets.

CIC has a stakes in global private equity fund Blackstone Group and in January took an 8.68 percent stake in U.K. utility Thames Water which analysts said could be worth around 600 million to 700 million pounds.

EIG had $9.5 billion in assets under management as of November last year.

Specialising in private investments, EIG has invested more than $13 billion in the energy sector in its 30-year history.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc advised EIG on the deal. (By Stephen Aldred)


Saban Capital Opens Hong Kong Office

Saban Capital Group has opened an office in Hong Kong led by Sumeet Jaisinghani. He has relocated from Los Angeles and will work to expand the firm’s investment activities in Asia.

PRESS RELEASE

Saban Capital Group, a leading global media and communications investment firm, today announced the opening of a new office in Hong Kong by its wholly-owned subsidiary, Saban Capital Group (Asia).  The office is led by Sumeet Jaisinghani, who has re-located to Hong Kong from Saban Capital Group’s Los Angeles office, and serves to expand the firm’s investment activities in Asia.

The Hong Kong office is Saban Capital Group’s first office in Asia.  Saban Capital Group began investing in Asia in 2010 and has three existing portfolio investments in the region: Media Nusantara Citra (IDX: MNCN), Indonesia’s largest and only vertically-integrated media company; Celestial Tiger Entertainment, a joint venture with Astro and Lionsgate on pay TV channels and content creation and distribution across Asia; and Taomee (NYSE: TAOM), the largest children’s online entertainment company in China.  Mr. Jaisinghani, who joined Saban Capital Group in 2008, has been involved with all of the firm’s investments in Asia.

Haim Saban, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Saban Capital Group, commented, “Asia is home to some of the world’s most innovative and creative entrepreneurs in media and communications.  We are excited about expanding our investment franchise into Asia and the opening of Saban Capital Group (Asia)’s office in Hong Kong is a strong sign of our commitment to the region.”

Adam Chesnoff, President and Chief Operating Officer of Saban Capital Group, said, “The expansion of our investment practice into Asia represents a strategic priority for Saban Capital Group.  Our presence in Hong Kong provides us with a regional connection to the many exciting investment opportunities in media and communications in Asia while supporting our existing investments in the region.  Our approach of partnering with strong entrepreneurs and management teams, and contributing our expertise, relationships and capital to help them achieve their global growth objectives, is a unique proposition in these dynamic markets.”

Sumeet Jaisinghani, Director, Saban Capital Group (Asia), said, “As a highly specialized, and long-term, investor with a flexible mandate and a long track record, we believe we are an ideal partner for entrepreneurs and companies in Asia.  Our investment profile in Asia includes the spectrum of growth equity, active minority investments, recapitalizations and co-control situations.  We look forward to continuing our work with strong entrepreneurs and operating executives to drive meaningful, long-term value creation.”  In the Hong Kong office, Mr. Jaisinghani will be overseeing an investment team dedicated to transaction sourcing and execution.

Saban Capital Group was established in 2001 by Haim Saban and its private equity investments outside of Asia have included: Univision Communications, the largest Hispanic media company in the United States; Bezeq Telecommunications (TASE: BEZQ), the incumbent telecom operator in Israel; and ProSiebenSat.1 (FSE: PSM), the largest television broadcast company in Germany.


Intervale Capital Acquires Allied Oil & Gas Services

Intervale Capital has bought Allied Oil & Gas Services. Financial terms weren’t announced. Wells Fargo & Co. provided debt financing. Fort Worth, Texas-based Allied Oil provides cementing and acidizing services.

PRESS RELEASE

Allied Oil & Gas Services, a cementing and acidizing business headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, has been acquired by Intervale Capital, a private equity firm focused on investments in middle-market oilfield services companies. With locations in Kansas, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Allied provides cementing and acidizing services to customers in the Mid-Continent and Marcellus Shale regions. Allied has a broad customer base of exploration and production companies and has distinguished itself as a provider of choice over its 45 year operating history. Wells Fargo & Company provided debt financing to support the transaction.

Allied’s operations will be led by CEO Thomas “Mac” McDaniel and COO Pat Saunders. “The Allied team is extremely excited to partner with Intervale Capital to grow our business. The transaction enables Allied to continue its focus on superior service quality, while investing heavily in new equipment and geographic expansion,” commented Mac McDaniel.

Erich Horsley, a Partner at Intervale Capital, added, “Allied is an excellent fit with Intervale’s strategy of backing differentiated service companies in attractive sub-sectors of the oilfield services industry. We look forward to partnering with management to further accelerate the company’s growth.”

Existing Intervale portfolio companies include Ulterra Drilling Technologies (PDC drill bits and downhole tools), Casedhole Solutions (wireline services), Proserv Group (offshore and subsea equipment and services), Team Oil Tools (completions equipment and services) and Impact Fluid Solutions (drilling fluids additives).

About Allied Oil & Gas Services:

Allied Oil & Gas Services provides cementing and acidizing services, as well as a wide range of float equipment and related products. Founded in 1967, Allied has become a leading independent oilfield services company, providing cementing and acidizing services throughout the industry. Allied built its reputation on customer-focused offerings and the highest standards of service delivery. Allied currently has locations throughout Kansas and in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Texas. From existing locations, Allied also services customers in Oklahoma, Colorado and Nebraska.

About Intervale Capital:

Intervale Capital is an energy-focused private equity firm, with headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and an office in Houston, Texas, investing exclusively in middle-market oilfield services companies and related technologies. Intervale’s Fund I closed on $280 million in 2008.


Warburg Pincus Buys Facility Source

Warburg Pincus has acquired a majority stake in FacilitySource. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Columbus-based FacilitySource provides facility maintenance and management solutions to retailers and other multi-site operators.

PRESS RELEASE

FacilitySource, a leading global provider of facility maintenance and management solutions to retailers and other multi-site operators, today announced that Warburg Pincus, a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing, has acquired majority ownership in FacilitySource.  Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

FacilitySource manages over 60,000 facilities worldwide via an elite service provider network, representing over $1 billion in aggregated spend each year. The company has grown rapidly since taking its solution to market in 2005, averaging 25-30% growth in each year. FacilitySource is poised to accelerate this growth with the backing of Warburg Pincus.

“FacilitySource provides a unique value proposition to its customers and continues to innovate in the vast and fragmented global facility maintenance market,” said Alex Berzofsky, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus.  ”We are excited to partner with Bill and his management team and to support the Company’s impressive growth trajectory.”

FacilitySource CEO Bill Hayden said, “We see the partnership with Warburg Pincus as an opportunity to build a very unique platform in a space that today does not have many good options from the perspective of our target client base. The strong investment from Warburg Pincus enables FacilitySource to grow the company, both organically and via strategic acquisition, and to expand the scope of services provided to our clients.”

About FacilitySource

Founded in 2001, FacilitySource is known for its holistic approach to facility maintenance management and process optimization in a wide range of business sectors, which include retailers, shopping centers, restaurants, auto parts stores and other companies with geographically disperse real estate portfolios. With over 60,000 locations served and a vendor database of over 15,000 vendors, FacilitySource provides retail maintenance, web-based transaction management software, vendor management and research, 24/7/365 service centers, statistical analysis and reporting, and paperless invoice management. FacilitySource manages millions of facilities maintenance work orders annually as well as over $1 billion in annual repair and maintenance expenses. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, FacilitySource also manages its operations in Phoenix, AZ, Chester, England, and Madrid, Spain, and provides service in other countries including China and Japan. For more information, visit www.facilitysource.com.

About Warburg Pincus

Warburg Pincus is a leading global private equity firm. The firm has more than $30 billion in assets under management. Its active portfolio of more than 125 companies is highly diversified by stage, sector and geography. Warburg Pincus is a growth investor and an experienced partner to management teams seeking to build durable companies with sustainable value. Founded in 1966, Warburg Pincus has raised 13 private equity funds which have invested more than $40 billion in over 650 companies in more than 30 countries.

Since inception, the firm has invested more than $13.5 billion in technology, media and tech-enabled services companies, including investments in BEA Systems, Bharti Airtel, Coyote Logistics, Endurance International Group, FIS, iParadigms Holdings LLC, NeuStar, New Breed, Nuance, RDA Microelectronics Inc., UGS Capital Corp., and VERITAS Software. The firm is headquartered in New York with offices in Amsterdam, Beijing, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Mumbai, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Shanghai. For more information, please visit www.warburgpincus.com.