Carlyle Steers RAC Group Towards £1.5bn Exit
The private equity firm which owns the RAC breakdown recovery service is mapping out a £1.5bn sale or stock market listing.
Sky News has learnt that The Carlyle Group has appointed Lazard, the investment bank, to provide advice on an exit from the RAC, which it bought from Aviva, the insurer, in 2011.
Directors are understood to have taken a decision to press ahead with a process to appoint additional banking advisors at an RAC board meeting earlier this week.
Insiders said that Lazard was focused on a strategic review of the business and that it was open-minded about the timing and structure of a sale.
The RAC, founded by the Royal Automobile Club in 1897, has more than 7m members, and has about 2000 patrols which attend 2.5m breakdowns every year.
Carlyle is said to be keen to undertake a sale before that of its principal rival, the AA.
Sky News revealed in March that a group of City investors were pressing the AA's owner to consider a listing of the company despite concerns among some of them about its substantial borrowings.
The RAC, which is owned by the same private equity group as Addison Lee, the London-based taxi company, is chaired by Rob Templeman, one of the UK's most successful executives.
Its chief executive is Chris Woodhouse, with whom Mr Templeman worked at Debenhams, the department store chain.
Aviva sold the business in 2011 to focus on its core insurance operations, but was widely regarded to have undervalued the RAC by selling it for £1bn.
Last November, the RAC paid its owners a £163m dividend as it emerged that the company was on track to make £145m in pre-tax profit last year, almost double its 2010 earnings.
It recently announced the launch of its first mobile electric vehicle charging unit and has begun selling telematic tracking devices, a growing trend among motor insurers.
Carlyle declined to comment on Friday.