THAT silence is the sound of Candover bosses having given up. Once a leading light in the private equity industry, the firm will make no further investments and has abandoned plans to find a buyer. Instead it will run its investments off over an unspecified time frame. What started so well has come to a sorry end.
All private equity firms have suffered disproportionately in the financial turmoil, as evidenced by their notable absence from the recent spate of M&A action. But Candover’s problems were unique. Its complicated structure -- with a listed parent that co-invests alongside an independent but wholly owned fund manager, Candover Partners, over which it has no say -- drew heavy criticism and lay at the heart of the firm’s woes.
Still, now that the uncertainty over Candover’s future has been put to rest, the shares – which trade at a hefty 34 per cent discount to the net asset value of its investments – are looking rather tasty. If the outfit avoids a fire sale and realises the true value of its assets, then returns for its shareholders will be well in excess of its 611p share price.?As the saying goes, one man’s loss is another man’s gain.