Last word

BC Partners is in exclusive talks with management at Foxtons regarding a £400m (€587.4m) bid for the UK estate agent chain. Reports say that the private equity firm is now in exclusive talks with Foxtons founder Jon Hunt, who is believed to own approximately 90 percent of the business. A source close to the deal recently confirmed that BC Partners would bid for Foxtons and that 3i, another early runner for the business, had pulled out over pricing issues.

• Private equity firm Mid Ocean Partners has assumed pole position in the fight to take over David Lloyd Leisure, the health clubs chain owned by Whitbread. Mid Ocean owns LA Fitness already and is keen to add another business to its existing operation. Earlier this week, property entrepreneur Nick Leslau, who runs Prestbury, was reported to be prepared to back a Mid Ocean bid of up to £1bn (€1.5bn).Leslau would buy around £700m (US$1.4bn) of the club’s property from Mid Ocean. Previously it was thought Robert Tchenguiz would support the private equity group, which had sold some Crown Sports freeholds to the Iranian investor. Since that report, Mid Ocean’s attempt has grown stronger as a leading competitor, Esporta, has seen its chief executive Neil Gillis and finance director Michael Ball resign. Esporta was bought by another property investor Simon Halabi last year.

• IT group ICM has recommended a £107.8m (€158.8m) takeover by Phoenix IT Group after a previously recommended bid from buyout firm Gresham lapsed.Gresham’s 490p-per-share offer through its Fawkes vehicle lapsed on May 4 after it received valid acceptances in respect of just 21.32% of the target’s share capital. ICM’s independent directors have now recommended Phoenix’s cash and shares offer of April 25, which values each ICM share at 505p.