Moulton In Talks Over Unipart Rescue Deal
The City financier Jon Moulton is in talks to rescue Unipart Automotive, Britain's biggest independent car parts supplier, in a deal that could save more than 1,500 jobs.
Sky News can reveal Better Capital, the investment firm headed by Mr Moulton, is competing against Euro Car Parts, another major company in the sector, about a transaction which could take place this week.
A third bidder is also understood to be in talks about a deal, without which Unipart Automotive faces the prospect of administration.
Sky News disclosed earlier on Tuesday that Unipart Automotive's owners had lined up KPMG by filing a notice of intention to appoint the professional services firm as administrator after a period of poor trading.
Unipart Automotive employs roughly 1,600 people, the vast majority of whose jobs would be saved if, as expected, KPMG reaches a deal to sell the company to one of the three interested parties.
Mr Moulton's interest follows his attempt to take control of MG Rover when the British car maker was put up for sale by BMW nearly 15 years ago.
Unipart Automotive, which is part-owned by Unipart Group and controlled by H2 Equity Partners, a Dutch private equity firm, has a network of 200 branches across the UK. Unipart Group sold a majority stake in 2011.
Mark Dixon, Unipart Automotive chief executive, said in response to Sky News' earlier report: "In response to current press speculation I can confirm that Unipart Automotive Limited are currently in detailed discussions with three parties in respect of the sale of the business.
"We are very hopeful of concluding this transaction in the next 36 hours.
"A notice of intention to appoint administrators has been filed, but merely with the intention of protecting Unipart Automotive while we complete this sale process."
According to the company's website, it is the largest independent supplier of car parts, workshop consumables and garage equipment to the after-market.
Unipart Automotive completed a refinancing in May which included new injections of capital from its shareholders in an attempt to buy the company breathing space.
KPMG declined to comment.