Motion Equity Partners is in talks to sell a stake in a €1.25 billion (US$1.6 billion) buyout fund it manages, with the C$172.6 billion (US$164.1 billion) Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Toronto, the leading bidder, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.
The bid by Canada's largest pension fund values the assets in the pool, which was raised in 2005, around €500 million, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
Motion, which traces its origins to Electra Partners Europe, named Patrick Eisenchteter, the co-head of the Paris office, as managing partner in June 2011, succeeding Nigel McConnell. Previously known as Cognetas, the firm suspended investment activities after McConnell's departure and in September 2011 rejected private equity firm Charterhouse Capital Partners' offer to buy the fund, the people said.
Should Motion accept CPPIB's bid, the fund's assets, which include Morrison Utility Services and pet goods retailer Arcaplanet, will be shifted into a new fund with investors able to cash out or carry over their investment, the people said.
The new fund is expected to have a five-year lifespan and might provide new capital for investments, they said.
While CPPIB is the leading bidder, London-based Motion and its adviser, placement agent Rede Partners, are considering other offers, two of the people said.
Motion has closed its office in Germany and cut staff in its U.K. office to deal solely with administration, leaving it to focus on France and Italy.
Spokesmen for Motion and Rede Partners declined to comment; May Chong, a spokeswoman for the CPPIB, also declined to comment.