In brief top news

Q-Park announced on June 30 that it had acquired Swedish parking firm CP Group, more commonly known as Carpark, from Bridgepoint in a deal that is understood to value the target at about €300m.

Bridgepoint backed the €88m MBO of Carpark in 2001 and is thought to have made a return of more than 700% on its investment. “CP group has grown substantially under Bridgepoint’s ownership,” observed Graham Oldroyd, the partner at the private-equity firm responsible for investments in the Nordic region. UBS was its adviser on the sale.

Carpark is the leading car-park operator in Sweden and Denmark and the number two in Norway and Finland. Q-Park, already a leading player in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Denmark and the UK, said the addition of the Carpark business would raise its portfolio to 510,000 spaces.

Ward Vleugels, chairman of Q-Park’s executive board, described the acquisition as “a perfect match”, given that parking revenues in the Nordic region were growing faster than the overall economy. “With this takeover, our strategic growth plans in Europe are coming true,” he added.

  • Esporta Group, the UK provider of health and fitness clubs controlled by buyout firm Duke Street has been provided with £306m of debt refinancing by Bank of Scotland. The transaction maximised the finance-raising potential of some of Esporta’s core real estate assets and also released additional funds for future acquisitions.

Earlier this year, reports claimed that Esporta expected Whitbread to sell its David Lloyd Leisure business. BLP advised on the real estate aspects of the latest transaction, with Clifford Chance advising on the finance and corporate aspects.

In 2002, Duke Street Capital Leisure Investments, a newco wholly-owned by funds managed by Duke Street Capital, completed its increased 875p per share cash tender offer for the 75.2% of Esporta it did not already own. The offer valued the stake in Esporta at £110m (US$170m). The total transaction value was US$284m.

0Vue Entertainment, the UK cinema developer and operator, has undergone an MBO backed by Royal Bank of Scotland’s integrated finance team in a deal worth about €350m. The bank backed the incumbent management team led by CEO Tim Richards.

The deal provides an exit for Boston Ventures, Clarity Partners and Legal & General Ventures, with the management team holding a controlling stake of 51%.

At the same time, Vue is acquiring the five new Village Roadshow multiplex cinemas in the UK, with further expansion at four new sites in Swansea, Cleveleys, Exeter and Lancaster. This follows Vue’s acquisition of the Ster Century cinema chain in May 2005.