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Birmingham City Council completes sale of NEC Group

By | Published on Monday 19 January 2015

NEC Group

The sale of the NEC Group to Lloyds Banking Group was confirmed by Birmingham City Council on Friday.

As previously reported, the NEC company operates four major venue complexes in and around Birmingham and was, until last week, owned by the City Of Birmingham itself. It also operates ticketing, event management and sponsorship agencies. The council reportedly decided to sell the successful venue company in order to raise cash to overcome financial issues brought on in part by the cap on local authority borrowing and a legal case pursued by council workers seeking equal pay.

The sale is valued at £307 million, with the Birmingham unit of Lloyds’ private equity arm LDC taking the entire company. However, Birmingham City Council will retain the leases on the Hilton Metropole and Crowne Plaza hotels next to its venues and the freehold of all NEC sites. The council will also continue to hold existing NEC pensions.

Confirming the deal, Leader of Birmingham City Council Albert Bore said in a statement: “The announcement of a new owner is a landmark moment in the history and development of the NEC Group and its three operating sites: NEC, ICC and Barclaycard Arena. We are very pleased to have attracted a Birmingham-based buyer in LDC that understands the local importance of the NEC and shares our vision for the future”.

He went on: “This will ensure that the business goes from strength to strength, and that the NEC continues to play a leading role in the wider economic development of the region whilst securing Birmingham and the wider West Midlands’ position as the home for outstanding live events. We are looking forward to working alongside LDC to achieve this goal”.