The NEC Group, put up for sale by Birmingham City Council (BCC), could be slipping behind schedule for announcing a new owner, with fears that the deal is taking longer to complete than anticipated.
CN has heard that private equity house with offices in the Midlands, LDC (part of the Lloyds banking group), could be the party currently locked in ‘exclusivity’ talks.
Previous statements from the BCC and NEC Group had promised an announcement on a winning bidder before the New Year.
A new statement passed to CN from The NEC Group confirms the slippage: “BCC is making progress in discussions with a preferred purchaser for the NEC and Cabinet is to be updated with the current project status. An announcement will be made in due course with completion expected in the New Year.”
A previous statement had said the sale process was expected to conclude by the end of 2014.
LDC, meanwhile, contacted by CN, continued to neither confirm or deny the report, saying its policy was “not to comment on media speculation”.
If LDC is ultimately successful in its bid, it would herald the return of British private equity to the sector, more recently dominated by US equity, such as Starwood Capital and Bain Capital. For many it would be a welcome return of UK investors to the sector backing a British management team.
The International Convention Centre (ICC), Birmingham, part of the NEC Group, meanwhile, has strengthened its event management team with the appointment of Supavadee Precharut as Conference and Banqueting Manager for Amadeus’ ICC Catering team and Ben Prior as the venue’s newest Technical Event Manager. Both were recruited internally.
Supavadee said: “Having worked in so many different roles within the Amadeus ICC catering team, I have gained a great understanding of what clients expect from the catering offer at their events. The ICC already pushes the boundaries with its food and drink offering and I aim to use my experience to ensure that we continue to deliver high quality food that not only meets client expectations but exceeds them.”
Prior had worked as an Events and Entertainment Technician at the Alton Towers Resort before moving to the ICC initially as a Senior Lighting Technician. He said: “I have been involved in the delivery of a number of great events since I joined the ICC but I am now looking forward to working more closely with the client to guide and advise how best they can meet their event objectives through the use of innovative technology. The opportunities to be innovative at events are endless and I will be working closely with clients to bring some of these to life.”
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