28 May 2016 – by David Hatcher
Bilfinger GVA is poised to return to private equity ownership, with Swedish firm EQT the preferred bidder for its parent company’s building and facilities division.
A circa €1.4bn (£1bn) deal is expected to be confirmed at a meeting of Bilfinger GVA’s supervisory board on Monday. An announcement could be made as soon as Wednesday, with another board meeting scheduled for Thursday.
However, any agreement would need to have the support of the Mannheim-based company’s influential workers’ council, which has strong representation on the supervisory board and could yet resist a sale.
French facilities management firm ENGIE was the other party on a shortlist of two potential buyers. JLL and Triton Partners were also initially in the running.
EQT typically holds its investments for between four and eight years, with an average to date of 4.6 years.
GVA was previously controlled by private equity, with Lloyds Development Capital owning a 25.7% stake in the company prior to its sale to Bilfinger in 2014.
All the content from this weekís magazine, including this article, is available in the new app.
Should a deal with EQT go ahead, the new owner would have the option of retaining the division as a whole or selling off elements, including Bilfinger GVA.
It is understood that there is interest from rival property advisers to acquire GVA should EQT decide to sell it on. Lambert Smith Hampton owner Countrywide has been tracking the process throughout and is one of the parties eager to undertake such a subtrade.
LSH is on an aggressive expansion trail and came close to taking on Deloitte Real Estate’s transactional teams earlier this year. However, last month the teams decided to split and move to Gerald Eve, Knight Frank and Savills.
A merger of LSH and Bilfinger GVA would bring together two businesses with similar cultures. Both are focused on consultancy and the regions, but with different client bases.