AA re­quests more time for takeover talks as bid­ding stalls

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Oliver Gill

THE AA has re­quested more time to con­tinue talks with takeover suit­ors as the prospect of a bid­ding war stalled for the debt-laden break­down firm.

A dead­line for po­ten­tial bid­ders to make an of­fer for the com­pany has been ex­tended by 28 days to Sept 29, the for­mer FTSE 250 com­pany an­nounced yes­ter­day.

Shares tum­bled more than a tenth amid spec­u­la­tion that two of the three bid­ders have opened dis­cus­sions about join­ing forces.

War­burg Pin­cus is hold­ing pre­lim­i­nary dis­cus­sions with a con­sor­tium led by Cen­ter­bridge Part­ners and Tow­erBrook Cap­i­tal Part­ners, Sky News re­ported on Mon­day evening.

Mean­while, spec­u­la­tion was grow­ing that the third party, Plat­inum Eq­uity, may not make a bid.

The AA said talks with all three par­ties “have con­tin­ued to progress and their due dili­gence is on­go­ing”.

re­ported on Sun­day that an­other sup­pos­edly in­ter­ested party, US buy-out fund Apollo, is un­der­stood to be fo­cus­ing on re­fi­nanc­ing some of the AA’s al­most £2.7bn debt pile as op­posed to mak­ing a swoop for its shares.

The spec­tre of only one bid be­ing lodged poured cold wa­ter on a late sum­mer bid­ding war for the AA.

Jefferies an­a­lysts wrote: “With one bid­der, lim­ited value in the eq­uity should be the cen­tral case.”

The AA shocked the City at the start of Au­gust by con­firm­ing re­ports of pri­vate eq­uity in­ter­est.

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