March 23, 2018 / 7:20 PM / a month ago

CVC among private equity firms eyeing British telecoms group Daisy: sources

LONDON (Reuters) - Private equity firms including CVC Capital Partners are eyeing bids for Daisy Group in an auction that could value the British telecoms business at about 1 billion pounds ($1.41 billion), banking sources told Reuters.

UBS and Oakley Advisory, which were hired to sell the company last year, are likely to send out confidential information about Daisy to prospective buyers in April, the sources said.

Interest is expected to come from buy-out houses including CVC and Providence Equity Partners rather than from rival telecoms companies, they said.

Daisy’s advisers have already held informal conversations with possible suitors, according to one of the sources.

The sale process is expected to value the provider of IT and telecoms services to small and medium-sized businesses at less than the 1.5 billion-pound price-tag reported in December, the sources said, with one estimating the company was worth closer to 1.1 billion pounds to 1.2 billion pounds.

This would fall short of the expectations of the telecoms group’s founder, Matthew Riley, who started the business from his garage 17 years ago, grew it through a string of acquisitions, and remains its chairman.

A spokesman for Riley said the chairman “wouldn’t sell the business” for that price range but did not give a valuation the founder would accept.

Daisy was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2009 but taken private five years later in a 494 million-pound deal by a consortium of Riley, hedge fund Toscafund and private equity firm Penta Capital.

Its most recent filing shows that revenues climbed by almost 18 percent to 602.8 million pounds in the 12 months to the end of March last year, although its pre-tax losses widened to 116.8 million pounds from 103.4 million pounds a year earlier.

Spokesmen for CVC and Providence declined to comment.

($1 = 0.7068 pounds)

Reporting by Ben Martin and Arno Schuetze; Editing by Adrian Croft

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