Multi-million pound deal for the NEC imminent

A British bank is poised to snap up a major conference and exhibition venue in a £250m-plus deal.

According to a Sky News report today, 12 January, LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Bank, is to be confirmed as new owner of the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

CN understands the news could be confirmed by the NEC by next Monday (19 January), although the venue has declined to comment on the news.

It is understood that the deal includes the whole NEC Group, comprising the exhibition halls, the International Convention Centre and the National Indoor Arena – now known as the Barclaycard Arena – the Genting Arena and The Ticket Factory agency.

It is not excluded, however, that the council may retain a symbolic small shareholding in the venue.

CN
identified LDC as the most likely buyer of the NEC last summer and the news of the sale heralds the return of British private equity players to the conference sector, more recently dominated by US backers.

Birmingham City Council had been locked in negotiations that spilled past the original New Year deadline, as the local authority venue owner attempts to raise cash to fund a £1bn equal pay bill.

LDC was not commenting on the latest report.
 
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Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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