Bridgepoint secures prison deal

Pan-European private equity firm Bridgepoint has seen off opposition bidders, securing exclusivity to purchase the prison management unit of Group 4 Falck for a reported £200m.

Bridgepoint, the UK-based mid-market private equity firm has been granted exclusivity in negotiations to buy Global Solutions, the prison management unit of Group 4 Falck, the Danish security company.

The unit is being divested as part of the merger between Group 4 Falck and Securicor and, subject to due diligence, Bridgepoint is understood to be prepared to pay up to £200 million (€300 million; $370 million), according to The Financial Times.

John Bates, director of communications at Global Solutions stated that, contrary to reports, the deal was not a management buyout, but that Bridgepoint were the preferred bidder and were now in exclusive negotiations with Group 4 Falck.

Global Solutions has been the subject of speculation since the announcement in February of the merger between Group 4 and Securicor and received a cash bid of £200 million last month from Geo, a US-based firm, formerly known as Wackenhut Corrections.

Bridgepoint is currently investing from its second fund, Bridgepoint Europe Private Equity Fund II, which closed in May 2002 on €2 billion ($2.4 billion). The fund is understood to be currently approximately 40 percent invested.