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3i in 800m Giochi Preziosi exit

Milan, 2 April 2008 - 3i, a world leader in private equity, today announces a preliminary agreement for the sale of the 51.7% stake held by 3i, and funds managed by 3i, in Giochi Preziosi, the leading Italian toy company, to Clessidra and Banca Intesa.

 In the deal which is subject to regulatory clearance and has a transaction size of around €800 million, Clessidra will take 40%, Banca Intesa 15%, while family owner Enrico Preziosi, will retain 45%.

Founded in 1978, Giochi Preziosi is the leading player in the Italian toy market and the fourth largest toy operator in the world. Giochi Preziosi’s core business specialises in the development, marketing and distribution of toys under its own brands. The group also owns Toys, the largest toy retailer in Italy with more than 90 stores across the country. The group secures licenses for successful cartoons and movies and from this develops its own products. It also has proprietary brands in the doll (‘cicciobello’) and more recently, in the action figure markets (‘gormiti’).

3i, and funds managed by 3i, first invested for a 40% stake in Giochi Preziosi in July 2005, increasing it to 51.7% in February 2006 in a buyout worth €521 million.

Using its network to introduce a new joint CEO, CFO, Head of Retail and a new Group Financial Controller to the management team, 3i has supported a major expansion of the business.

Marco Fumagalli, Partner and Managing Director of 3i Italy, who led the investment, today comments: 
“This investment in Giochi Preziosi confirms that the Italian private equity market is still open to quality companies with credible business plans. The financing environment in Italy, unlike in other European countries, has not been severely impacted by the credit crunch. Therefore we decided this was the right time to sell this very highly thought of business. We’ve been proud to be part of this growth story.”

The business has grown substantially following the buyout:
- Turnover increased from €590 million in 2004 to €723.4 million in 2007
- Number of employees increased from 1,470 in 2004 to 1,717 in 2007
- Earnings increased significantly with EBITDA rising from €64 million in August 2005 to €79.2 million in June 2007 
- Giochi Preziosi’s retail operations were restructured and expanded internationally.

“This was one of 3i’s most significant investments in Italy”, confirms Sergio Sambonet, Chairman of 3i Italy,and key to the management of this transaction. “We have great faith in this company as it represents one of our country’s biggest business success stories - thanks to the foresight of its founder, Enrico Preziosi. Its development over the past 2 years has exceeded all expectations. The business remains solid and I’m sure that the company will continue to grow under its new ownership.”  


About 3i

About 3i
3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital.  We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital, Venture Capital, Infrastructure and Quoted Private Equity and invest across Europe, the United States and Asia.  Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our business relationships.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.

3i Buyouts 
3i’s buyouts business is a leader in the European mid-market.  We lead mid-market buyouts of companies valued at up to around €1bn, using insight from our local knowledge, international connections, and our sector teams.  With over €8bn of funds under management and an existing portfolio of over 60 companies across Europe, 3i Buyouts invests in all sectors, with a particular focus on media, healthcare, consumer, business services, financial services, general industrial and oil, gas & power.  In 2006, 3i Buyouts raised Eurofund V, which at €5bn, represents the largest fund in Europe dedicated to mid-market buyouts.  Recent investments include Agent Provocateur (UK) and Global Garden Products (Italy) and recent exits include Coor Service Management (Nordic) and the IPO of Telecity (UK). 

For further information please contact:

Kathryn van der Kroft
tel.  +44 207 975 3021

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