European buyout firms Permira and CVC Capital Partners are considering a sale or flotation of the Automobile Association (AA), the UK nationwide roadside recovery service the buyout firms acquired in July 2004 for £1.75bn (US$3.38bn). Reports claim that PwC has been hired to carry out a review of the AA regarding a potential £3bn (US$5.8bn) sale or flotation following approaches from a number of interested bidders. Permira declined to comment. CVC and PwC could not be reached for comment. Since the acquisition, Permira and Cinven have carried out a cost-cutting strategy, including the closure of 126 unprofitable vehicle service centres and the sale to Nationwide Autocentres of a further 50 centres for an undisclosed sum. Private equity ownership of the AA was in the news earlier this year when the GMB, a trade union representing a minority of workers at the group, attacked Permira managing partner Damon Buffini in London newspaper Evening Standard and a series of regional protest meetings.
- Sulo Group, Germany’s second largest waste management and recycling business plans further acquisitions, while its private equity owners plan to exit the business, managing director Juergen Rauen told Die Welt newspaper. According to Rauen Sulo shareholders Blackstone and Apax plan to divest their interests in the company in 2007, either through an IPO or sale to investors. The private equity investors acquired the business in a 2003 buyout.The disposal plans will not affect Sulo’s won acquisition strategy, with Rauen saying he is targeting acquisitions in Germany this year and in another European country in spring 2007. In October 2005 Sulo paid €456m.