Apax gets NCP

Apax Partners is close to completing the £800m deal to acquire National Car Parks from Cendant Corporation.

UK private equity firm Apax Partners has agreed a price with US property group Cendant which will see it acquire National Car Parks for £800m. Apax, which teamed up with property investment firm Dawney Day, beat off competition from Cinven and BC Partners which both made it through to the final round of bidding.

Cendant’s advisors, Schroder Salomon Smith Barney (SSSB) and JP Morgan, received 20 indicative offers for the business. Despite being a low margins business, the opportunity to securitise cashflows as well as the value of the property assets in the portfolio have attracted potential private equity buyers.

Cendant, which bought the business from its founders in March 1998 for just over £800m was understood to be looking for a price in the region of £1bn for NCP. It sold the Green Flag business of the firm to Direct Line for £220m in October 1999.

The acquisition of NCP is the second major European car park acquisition by a private equity house in 2002. In March, Bridgepoint Capital completed the purchase of Scanpark, Norway’s fourth largest car park operator that built on its Nordisk Parkering (NP) acquisition, which the UK-headquartered mid-market private equity firm bought in July 2001.

A spokesperson for Apax Partners declined to comment.