NCP sale enters home straight

Either BC Partners or Cinven are tipped to be the successful bidders in what looks to be a £800m deal.

Reports suggest that US marketing group Cendant will soon confirm which private equity buyer has been successful in the auction of its UK car parks business, National Car Parks (NCP).

A number of private equity firms, including the Carlyle Group, Apax Partners and Candover are said to have been interested in the business which was put up for sale with an indicative valuation of £1bn.

The Financial Times reports that only buyout firms BC Partners and Cinven have offered anything approaching that amount, with both said to be proposing a figure around £800m. Cendant bought the business from its founders in March 1998 for just over £800m.

Although seemingly a low margins business, the strength of the cashflows as well as the value of the property assets in the portfolio have attracted private equity buyers. Cendant is being advised on the sale by Schroder Salomon Smith Barney and JP Morgan Chase.

Last month, 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. The two combined entities will become the second largest operator in Norway.