PRIVATE equity firm Permira is the frontrunner to acquire Lowell Group, the Leeds-based debt collection company.
The group, which currently owns businesses like Dr Martens, is in talks to acquire Lowell for about £1.1bn from current owner TDR Capital. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan also owns a big minority stake in the firm.
Lowell buys packages of sub-prime consumer debt with a view to recouping the cash by arranging different repayment plans with non-paying borrowers.
TDR bought the company in 2011 from another private equity firm, Exponent Private Equity.
It had been a candidate to follow rival debt collection firm, Arrow Global, onto the stock market this year. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan were reported to have been appointed for the float.
Sale plans were first reported by the Sunday Times yesterday.
Permira did not comment.