The Carlyle Group Sells Its Stake in Le Figaro to Socpresse

Paris - The Carlyle Group, one of the world's largest private equity firms, today announced the first exit from its €1billion European buyout fund, Carlyle Europe Partners.

Following Serge Dassault's acquisition of a 30% stake in Socpresse last month, The Carlyle Group and Socpresse have entered a definitive agreement through which Socpresse will acquire all of the shares and convertible bonds owned in Le Figaro by Carlyle since July 1999. As a result of this transaction, Socpresse will own 100% of Le Figaro.

Jean-Pierre Millet, managing director of The Carlyle Group, said: "This transaction marks the conclusion of the partnership between Carlyle and Socpresse which was initiated in 1999 in order to assist Socpresse with the restructuring of its balance sheet. Carlyle is pleased with its relationship with Le Figaro management team which demonstrated great talent in leading one of the finest publications of the French press."

Yves de Chaisemartin and Michel Senamaud, president and CEO of Socpresse-Le Figaro respectively, said: "Our partnership with Carlyle came at a critical time for Socpresse and the group is now in strong shape. Carlyle proved to be a most valuable partner."

Carlyle acquired 40% of Le Figaro Group in July 1999 through a combination of shares and convertible bonds. This was Carlyle's second buyout investment in France and the firm's third buyout in Europe. "The terms of Carlyle's exit have been very well received by our investors. They meet expectations set at the time of the acquisition," said Mr. Millet.

In addition to Le Figaro Carlyle's acquisitions in Europe include: Andritz (Austria), Bredbandsbolaget (Sweden), Groupe Genoyer (France), Honsel (Germany), Messer Eutectic Castolin Group (Germany), Otor (France), Riello (Italy), Tecnoforge (Italy). It has made significant investments in Beru (Germany), Lafarge Speciality Materials (France) and Digiplex (Pan-European).