The Glitter is Gone

Oct 1, 2001

Under Juan Navarro, the Exxel Group shot to fame as Argentina's most savvy leveraged buyout firm. But some of its companies are in financial trouble as Navarro's financial and management expertise is lacking luster.

The year was 1996, during the glory days of private equity in Argentina, and a veritable feeding frenzy had broken out in which even the most humble, family-run businesses could have three or more funds fighting over them. While many a deal would be struck, one man would out joust his fellow suitors to win the hand of Penelope and the bragging rights that came with her. His name was Juan Navarro, head of Buenos Aires-based the Exxel Group, and the deal that cemented his image as the Henry Kravis of Latin America was his acquisition of Supermercados Norte. In what was Latin America's largest leveraged buyout ever, Navarro acquired the Buenos Aires-based retailer for $440 million. Two years later, when he sold a 49% stake in the chain to Promodes, now owned by Carrefour, Navarro had already earned most of that back. When the French retailer acquired the...

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