Charterhouse's 550m bid for Wood MacKenzie is boost for private equity

CHARTERHOUSE Capital is in exclusive talks to acquire energy research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie in what would be the UK&rsquo;s biggest leveraged buyout this year.<br /><br />The &pound;550m offer from Charterhouse would provide a welcome cash boost for Wood Mackenzie&rsquo;s parent company Candover, which is itself looking for potential buyers or stakeholders.<br /><br />It is also a sign of hope for the private equity industry, which has stuggled to do deals in the absence of cheap debt. <br /><br />Yesterday Candover&rsquo;s share price jumped 43p to 267.75p on the news of the proposed sale.<br /><br />Charterhouse&rsquo;s offer is below the &pound;650m original price tag, but appears to have seen off competition from rivals Bain Capital, Hellman &amp; Friedman and Warburg Pincus. <br /><br />Candover owns 67 per cent of Wood Mackenzie, with management holding the rest. Goldman Sachs is advising on the sale.<br /><br />It is thought that Charterhouse will finance the deal with about half debt and half equity.