According to a SEC filing lodged in the US on Friday, the sale of Gazelle passed its final technical hurdle on Thursday. The Dutch company with a royal warrant is now free of Derby's debt millstone. And, thanks to the sale proceeds, so is Derby.

Gazelle sale completed; Derby is now debt free

On July 19th the sale of Gazelle by Derby Nederland B.V. to Gazelle Holding

B.V., a company controlled by Gilde Investment Management B.V. and located in

The Netherlands, was completed. The purchase price was EUR 142.5 million (c £88m) in

cash, less EUR 11.9 million of debt and taxes outstanding of Gazelle as of June

1, 2001, and subject to certain adjustments based on Gazelle’s balance sheet as

of June 1, 2001. EUR 10.0 million of the purchase price was placed in escrow, to

be released to the Company upon the determination of certain contingencies.

The SEC filing said:

"A portion of the net proceeds from the sale of Gazelle was applied first to

repay or collateralize all of the outstanding amounts under the Company’s DM209.4 million ($93.9 million) senior secured revolving credit facility (the "Revolving Credit Facility"). As a result of the repayment, the Revolving Credit Facility was terminated."

In effect, this means Derby’s debt slate is wiped clean, leaving the way open for Alan Finden-Crofts to raise finance to MBO the non-Gazelle parts of Derby. Unlike Gazelle, these parts – including Raleigh – are not profitable, although Finden-Crofts believes they can be made so.

It’s likely that Derby’s VC overlords, Thayer and Perseus, and the restricted group of bondholders, who make up the majority on Derby’s board, will prefer to see the whole group being sold off at once rather than sell parts piecemeal. The only other interested party is a sports investment fund, but it is believed to be only interested in cherrypicking the juiciest parts of the group.

The Derby empire is also slowly contracting. The Derby-owned Univega brand has just been shelved by Derby in the US.

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