Rothschild Gears Up For £150m Autodata Deal
A division of the Rothschild banking dynasty is preparing a swoop on one of the world's biggest suppliers of automotive data in a deal worth close to £150m.
Sky News understands that Five Arrows Principal Investments, which manages a £500m fund which invests in companies in Western Europe, has teamed up with Bowmark Capital to acquire Autodata.
Five Arrows and Bowmark, which owns businesses such as Drake & Morgan, a London-based restaurant chain, are understood to have been granted a period of exclusivity until next week to negotiate a takeover of Autodata.
The investment arm of the Rothschild empire is little-known outside the City but has invested in a number of UK-based businesses, including Kisimul, a provider of residential care, and The Binding Site, a medical diagnostics company.
The two funds are understood to have outbid rivals such as Hearst, the American publishing giant, Inflexion Private Equity and CAP, another automotive data provider which its owner, Montagu Private Equity, had planned to merge with Autodata.
CAP was eliminated from the auction several weeks ago, leading Montagu itself to re-enter as a bidder in its own right.
A deal is likely to cost as much as £150m, much higher than original estimates of the sale price, reflecting buoyant demand from the automotive after-market for vehicle data.
Autodata was put up for sale several months ago, with Livingstone Partners, an advisory firm, appointed to handle the sale.
The deal has attracted interest from at least a dozen potential buyers, according to people close to the situation, with Autodata expected to be valued at somewhere in the region of £50m.
Montagu's interest stems from its ownership of CAP, which it bought from Top Right Group - formerly Emap, the media conglomerate - in 2012 for £170m.
Autodata supplies information about 17,000 models produced by 80 vehicle manufacturers, giving professional workshops access to the relevant manufacturers' information needed for service repair and diagnostic work.
Among the other bidders for Autodata were Francisco Partners, Hg Capital and TA Associates, underlining the intense demand among private equity firms for places to invest the capital they have raised from investors.
Bowmark and Livingstone Partners declined to comment.