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TDR’s LeasePlan Is Said to Draw Interest From ALD, Santander

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Jan-Henrik Förster and Ruth David
·2 min read
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(Bloomberg) -- TDR Capital is drawing interest in LeasePlan from ALD SA and Banco Santander SA as it pursues a sale of the European vehicle leasing giant, according to people familiar with the matter.

France-listed ALD, majority owned by Societe Generale SA, has been holding talks about a potential merger with LeasePlan, the people said. Spanish banking group Santander is among other potential suitors evaluating the business, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.

There’s no certainty either ALD or Santander will proceed with formal offers, the people said. Representatives for LeasePlan, Santander, Societe Generale and TDR declined to comment, while a spokesperson for ALD didn’t provide any immediate comment.

LeasePlan could be valued at more than $10 billion in a deal, potentially making it one of the biggest European private equity divestments this year, Bloomberg News reported in March.

TDR has been exploring options for the business since receiving approaches from strategic investors. It is also considering a carveout of the LeasePlan’s used-car platform CarNext.com, according to one person familiar with the matter.

LeasePlan offers personal car leases and oversees corporate fleets and manages about 1.9 million vehicles in 32 countries. It generated revenue of 9.85 billion euros ($11.8 billion) last year, competing with the likes of ALD and BNP Paribas SA’s Arval unit.

A merger between LeasePlan and ALD, which manages more than 1.5 million vehicles across 43 countries, could create a European vehicle leasing powerhouse. For Societe Generale, it would would represent one of the French bank’s biggest bets in auto leasing since it began expanding into the market in the early 2000s.

Leasing businesses can be highly profitable for lenders, with the potential to deliver better returns on equity than banking and trading units. Societe Generale has grown ALD in part through acquisitions and took the business public in 2017. ALD’s shares have risen about 70% over the last year, giving it a market value of 5.1 billion euros.

A consortium including TDR, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and an arm of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to buy LeasePlan for 3.7 billion euros in 2015. LeasePlan’s shareholders were seeking a valuation of around 7.5 billion euros from an aborted initial public offering in 2018.

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