Safestore, the UK self-storage group owned by pan-European mid-market private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital, has made a recommended £209 million cash offer for rival Mentmore, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
The 115 pence per share offer represents a premium of 35 percent to Mentmore’s 85 pence per share closing price on 19 December 2003, the last business day prior to bid speculation emerging. Safestore says it has so far received undertakings and letters of intent to vote in favour of the proposals from shareholders representing 48.7 percent of Mentmore’s existing issued share capital.
Mentmore completed a major restructuring process in 2003 in order to focus on the personal storage market. In July 2003, it sold its serviced business space division to Ashetenne Holdings for £189 million less debt and then in December 2003 sold a 49.9 percent stake in records management business Iron Mountain Europe to joint venture partner Iron Mountain Inc for £82.5 million.
In a statement, Bridgepoint said it would combine Mentmore and Safestore to create the largest UK player in self-storage with 68 sites, and the number two in Europe. It added that the deal presented the opportunity to pursue European expansion through Mentmore’s foothold in the French market. Mentmore has 53 sites in the UK and France, while Safestore has 23 stores primarily in London and the South East of England.
“Self-storage remains a relatively under-developed part of the overall UK storage market but is demonstrating strong growth rates,” said Alan Payne, a director at Bridgepoint. The self-storage market in the UK is currently worth around £200 million per year, with about 400 stores currently in operation.
Bridgepoint acquired Safestore, which was then listed on the UK’s Alternative Investment Market, for around £40 million in August 2003. At the time, Bridgepoint said it expected to assist Safestore in making further acquisitions in the sector given its fragmented nature.