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BCA goes private after top backers accept £1.9bn offer for car dealer

Michael Bow

A flurry of top shareholders in Webuyanycar owner BCA Marketplace including under-fire Neil Woodford have accepted the £1.9 billion bid for the second-hand car dealer.

Buyout firm TDR Capital, which manages €8 billion (£7 billion) and owns gym chain David Lloyd, on Wednesday confirmed a 243p per share cash offer that emerged last week.

US private equity firms Neuberger Berman and AlbaCore will invest in BCA alongside TDR.

The fund managers accepting the all-cash offer include Invesco, Hargreave Hale, AXA and Aviva and account for 44% of shares. TDR needs 75% to seal the deal.

The board, led by executive chairman Avril Palmer-Baunack, has recommended the offer, making it likely passive funds will follow suit.

“The offer from TDR gives shareholders the opportunity to receive cash at a significant premium to the prevailing share price and will allow BCA to develop its business as a private, unlisted company,” said BCA.

Some of the money TDR is paying will be in the form of debt provided by HSBC, Bank of America and Royal Bank of Canada.

HSBC and Bank of America are also advising TDR.

Goldman Sachs and boutique adviser Kinmont are advising BCA alongside Jefferies.

The offer is second time lucky for BCA after it rejected a takeover by Apax a year ago.

BCA said revenues broke past £3 billion last year, up from £2.4 billion.

More than one million second-hand cars were sold by the company for the second consecutive year.

A dividend of 9.65p was paid up from 8.55p after operating profits rose to £100.2 million from £87.6 million .

Palmer-Baunack, who stands to earn £16 million, said: “BCA has delivered a good resilient performance in the year against the backdrop of a challenging new car market, subdued conditions in the more stable used car market and economic uncertainty.”