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Lloyds equity business set to acquire Birmingham’s NEC Group

By | Published on Wednesday 14 January 2015

NEC Group

The private equity wing of the Lloyds Banking Group looks set to acquire Midlands-based venue operator the NEC Group, according to Sky News.

The NEC company – which operates four major venue complexes in and around Birmingham (and which Sky News’s American sister network Fox News presumably believes are only allowed to stage events for Muslims) – is currently owned by the City Of Birmingham itself. It also operates a number of ticketing, event management and sponsorship agencies.

According to Sky, Birmingham City Council is seeking 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 pursed by council workers seeking equal pay.

The deal, which could be announced as soon as today, should be worth between £250 million and £300 million. It’s not clear whether Lloyds Development Capital would take outright ownership or if the Birmingham Council would retain a stake.

The city began seeking a buyer for its venues business last March, with council leader Albert Bore saying at the time: “A key purpose of the city council investing in establishing the NEC Group more than 30 years ago was to drive economic development and regeneration. This has been achieved, but now the NEC Group has reached a point in its evolution where it needs to be able to adopt the financial disciplines of a private, rather than a council-owned company to enable the next stage of strategic development”.

LDC already has some interests in the media and entertainment space, most notably the venue and festival owning MAMA & Company, and Orion Media, a radio business also based in the Midlands.