<strong>Q.WHAT IS CVC CAPITAL PARTNERS?</strong><br /><strong>A.</strong>CVC is one of the world&rsquo;s biggest private equity houses with 19 offices across Europe, Asia and the US. Since its founding in 1981 it has snapped up stakes in department store chain Debenhams and Formula One Group among over 250 others. It is in line to buy Barclays&rsquo; iShares asset management arm for &pound;3bn.<br /><br /><strong>Q.WHO IS BEHIND THE ROYAL MAIL DEAL?</strong><br /><strong>A.</strong>CVC head of UK investments Rob Lucas is in charge of negotiations. He joined in 1996 after nine years at listed UK private equity fund 3i Group. Lucas will be locked in talks with Peter Mandelson, the business secretary and main driving force behind the privatisation plans, and chief executive of the post office Adam Crozier.<br /><br /><strong>Q.WHAT RELEVANT EXPERIENCE DOES CVC HAVE?</strong><br /><strong>A.</strong>It has a lot of experience dealing with postal services. In 2005 it bought a 22 per cent stake in Danish postal service Post Danmark. Then the Belgian government in January 2006 approved its joint bid with Post Danmark for 49.9 per cent of its national postal operator De Post La Poste. CVC last month agreed to sell its Post Danmark stake back to the Danish government, in return for getting control of the rest of the shared 49.9 per cent De Post La Post stake.<br /><br /><strong>Q.WHAT COULD STOP THE DEAL?</strong><br /><strong>A.</strong>There&rsquo;s the rival bid from Dutch firm TNT &ndash; the group is a postal operator and seen by some as better placed to carry through the deal. The group said late last week that its plan would be to develop Royal Mail &ldquo;into a modern, best-in-class postal operator&rdquo;. The deal also faces union trouble. Communication Workers&rsquo; Union head Billy Hayes said this weekend: &ldquo;We are opening the British public mail service to the dangers of profiteers. Around the world there are a number of private equity firms who have stakes in postal services &ndash; they&rsquo;re not interested in public service but in the biggest possible profit.&rdquo;