Moneycorp In Talks On £200m Bridgepoint Deal
One of Britain's biggest foreign currency retailers is closing in on a sale to Bridgepoint, the private equity firm, in a deal valuing it at more than £200m.
Sky News understands that Moneycorp's controlling shareholder is in advanced discussions with Bridgepoint, which owns the dentistry chain Oasis and Fat Face, the high street fashion retailer.
Bridgepoint has been competing against Corsair Capital and JC Flowers in a final round of bidding to acquire control of Moneycorp, and it remains possible that one of the rival investment funds could yet trump Bridgepoint's offer, an insider said.
A deal will value Moneycorp at more than £200m and potentially as much as £240m, they added.
The payments specialist's owner is a vehicle which until recently was managed by the taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
Called the RBS Special Opportunities Fund (SOF) until its separation from the bank, it has been running an auction of Moneycorp since February.
Founded in 1999 at a shop on Oxford Street in London's West End, Moneycorp handles transactions worth more than £8bn annually and employs more than 500 people.
The company is run by Mark Horgan, a former Travelex and MasterCard executive.
RBS held a 13.5% direct stake in the SOF, which describes itself as "a discreet £1.1bn third-party fund" but which has provoked occasional controversy since the bank's rescue in 2008 by continuing to make new investments.
The spin-off of the RBS-managed fund reflects a growing trend among global banks to downsize their investment businesses because of more punitive capital treatment by international regulators.
The fund previously owned Arrow Global, the debt collection agency which floated on the stock market last year and which recently snapped up a £900m portfolio of student loans from the Government.
It was also a shareholder in Four Seasons, the nursing home group.
Moneycorp's sale will follow a frenetic period of deals involving major foreign currency providers.
Travelex was recently sold to an Abu Dhabi-based consortium headed by the boss of UAE Exchange, while HiFX, a much smaller competitor, was bought by Euronet, a US-based company.
Bridgepoint and Canaccord Genuity, the investment bank handling the auction of Moneycorp, declined to comment.