Apax joins running for NCP

Apax is taking on rivals Cinven and BC Partners in the £800m auction for Cendant’s National Car Parks.

UK private equity firm Apax Partners has emerged as the third private equity bidder in the ongoing race to acquire National Car Parks, the UK car park operator being sold by US franchising firm Cendant.

Apax has been reported to have teamed up with property investment firm Dawney Day to make a bid for NCP, with final offers for the firm expected to exceed £800m.

Bidding for NCP is in the final stages. There were originally 20 indicative offers for the firm, subsequently scaled down to six by SSSB and JP Morgan, Cendant’s investment banking advisers. Second round bids were submitted by two other private equity firms, Carlyle and CVC, as well as by a consortium comprising RBoS, Delancey Estates and Britannia Parking.

Offers in the region of £800m would be lower than the £1bn sought by Cendant, which bought the business from its founders in March 1998 for just over £800m. It has since sold the Green Flag business of the firm to Direct Line for £220m in October 1999.

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.