Candover Says Gets Approaches For Company

Candover Investments Plc, the listed parent of British private equity firm Candover, said on Friday it had received indicative expressions of interest for the business, sending its shares soaring.

The firm, which last week said it was no longer able to commit more cash to its own buyout fund, said the expressions of interest covered a range of options, including potential offers for the company.

Candover Investments shares were up 25.5 percent at 149 pence at 1419 GMT.

It has held informal talks with rivals including The Blackstone Group, The Independent newspaper said earlier on Friday, without saying where it got the information.

A source familiar with the situation said the firm had received some calls expressing interest in the business but said it was still reviewing all strategic options.

“Nothing has changed since last week. If there is anything, it’s still at a very early stage,” the source said.

Last April, Candover Investments committed to put 1 billion euros ($1.29 billion) into its 2008 fund but now intends to limit its investment to the 69.5 million pounds ($96.38 million) already in oil and gas services company Expro.

It said last week it was looking at a range of strategic options for the business and would concentrate on realising value from investments in its 2001 and 2005 funds.

Candover has considered going into run-off — where a private equity firm ceases investing and runs its portfolio companies until they can be sold — but only as a last resort.

It said it expects to enter into preliminary discussions with selected parties but said there could be no certainty as to the outcome of those discussions.

Candover declined to comment further on the time-scale for discussions or the potential parties involved. ($1=.7770 euros) ($1=.7211 pounds)

(Reporting by Simon Meads)