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Who will take home the trophy in sale of Crufts home NEC: Sky News
Posted on Wednesday, 10 October 2018 09:50
NEC Group, the UK-based live events entertainment business, is close to agreeing a sale to a private equity firm, with bids to be settled in the coming days, Sky News reported.

The broadcaster cited sources as saying a deal is expected to value the venue, which houses dog show Crufts each year, at more than GBP 800.00 million.

Buyout groups Blackstone, TDR Capital and Centerbridge are pushing their last efforts to the finish line, with an agreement to be signed by one of the parties by the end of the week, Sky News observed.

Interested suitors tabled initial offers for NEC last week in an auction which the broadcaster said was run by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

According to people close to the situation, the high-interest in the Birmingham-located entertainment and exhibition venue is expected to result in a high return for current owner LDC, which paid GBP 307.00 million for the company in 2015.

After just three years of ownership, NEC’s value could nearly triple, with Sky News noting this has raised questions about Birmingham City Council’s decision to sell for such a low price three years ago.

The company is billed as one of the UK’s largest live events operators, with assets including Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre, the International Convention Centre and the Genting Arena.

NEC not only houses the world’s most famous pedigree dog show but also has seen entertainers such as One Direction, Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé grace its stages.

The venue is also due to host part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

NEC has spent tens of millions of pounds on capital expenditure projects to expand its revenues and visitor numbers since coming under ownership of LDC.

It has established partnerships with leisure groups such as Merlin Entertainments, the owner of theme parks Legoland and Alton Towers.

Such expansions, including transformation changes and new agreements, have boosted revenue and profit, a spokesman for LDC, as cited by Sky News, said recently.

NEC has been open since 1976 and now has over 182,000 square metres of exhibition space, welcoming 2.40 million visitors and over 34,000 exhibiting companies each year.

In the financial year ended 31st March 2018, the group recorded revenue of GBP 162.10 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of GBP 54.70 million, both of which increased on the previous 12 months.

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