The second round process for a final candidate to buy The NEC has begun.
In a statement 1 July, the West Midlands venue group confirmed the process has now moved on a stage and is on target to complete by the end of the year.
It is thought that bid interest has been expressed by over a dozen parties.
In early March Birmingham City Council (BCC) announced that it had resolved to seek offers for the NEC Group and initiated a pre-qualification process whilst sale preparations were finalised.
The latest NEC statement says: “First round bids were received as scheduled at the end of May. We’re now in Round Two of the process with the NEC Group sale attracting strong bid interest from a number of potential investors. Both Birmingham City Council and The NEC Group have a strict duty of confidentiality to all parties, so cannot make any comment on the names or nature of prospective bidders.”
Mash Media MD Julian Agostini, spoke to the BBC yesterday on the sale. You can see that report here.
NEC Managing Director Kathryn James said back in March that the council was prepared to look at both a full sale, or a majority stake sale option for the venue.
This would be similar to the agreement that casino operator Genting has for the upcoming £150m retail and leisure complex, Resorts World Birmingham set to open on the NEC site in early 2015.
The NEC Group is a vitally important contributor to the West Midlands economy, delivering an economic impact of over £2bn a year, while supporting around 29,000 jobs in the region.
In addition to its four venues, the NEC Group has successfully established a number of related businesses. These include national ticketing agency The Ticket Factory, catering business Amadeus and NEC Group International, which is taking its venue management expertise into the operation of third party-owned venues.
CN has been taking soundings and opinions from figures in the industry about potential future owners of The NEC. Some potential contender names appear to emerge more often than others. These have included:
1. An Abu Dhabi/ADNEC consortium (following its success with Excel London).
2. A consortium of organisers, such as Reed, Media 10
3. Genting, the American company behind the casino development at The NEC
4. A management buyout
5. An investor from the Far East or Gulf-based investor funds.
Who do you think will buy the NEC? Email: Paul Colston