Candover, LGV exit Earl’s Court for £245m

The European private equity houses have sold their stakes in Earls Court & Olympia to a consortium comprising St James Capital and Nomura International in a deal worth £245 million, returning over 2.5x their investment.

Candover and Legal & General Ventures (LGV), the European private equity houses have realised their investments in Earls Court & Olympia (EC&O), a London-based exhibition venue and event organising company.

A consortium comprising St James Capital and Nomura International have bought EC&O in a transaction valued at £245 million (€364 million; $440 million). According to the vendors, the deal returned more than 2.5x the original investment to Candover and LGV.

Candover invested £30 million from the £850 million Candover 1997 fund alongside a £4 million investment from Candover Investments. LGV invested £10 million in September 1999 alongside them.

The Candover 1997 fund is fully invested and the deal represents the ninth full exit from the fund to date. Of the six remaining investments, four have been partially realised. Candover is currently investing from its 2001 fund, which sources close to the firm say is approximately 55 percent committed at this stage.

The EC&O transaction is LGV’s fifth disposal in the last three months, including exits from Bourne Leisure, the UK caravan parks operator and MGE-UPS, a French provider of power supply solutions. The firm has also exited Accantia, a UK-based manufacturer of personal care products and sold its stake in The Unique Pub Company, the UK leasing pub company in March.

The LGV investment was made from the £200 million LGV 1999 fund. LGV is currently investing LGV 3, a £155 million fund which is “edging towards being fully committed” according to Michael O’Donnell, director at LGV.  The firm is currently in the process of raising LGV 4, which is expected to close sometime this quarter according to O’Donnell.