CPPIB acquires 30 pct stake in BGL Group for $1.14 bln: Reuters

BGL Group, owner of Comparethemarket.com, said on Thursday it would sell a 30 percent stake for about 675 million pounds ($1.14 billion) to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board instead of listing its shares in London.

BHL, the owner of BGL Group, will retain a majority shareholding in the business and the deal is expected to be completed by the end of April 2018, it said.

“During the course of our IPO preparations, our shareholder BHL received a number of approaches from different kinds of investors… A competitive process followed and our view was that CPPIB was the best partner for BGL,” the chairman of BGL Group, Peter Winslow, said.

The announcement is another blow to the London Stock Exchange after earlier this month telecoms masts firm Arqiva, Britain’s biggest debt collector Cabot Credit Management, and business services company TMF Group all pulled deals.

The announcement of the float plans had driven hopes of a revival of the market for initial public offerings (IPO) in Britain, a market that has been muted since Britons voted to leave the European Union in June 2016.

Ready meals business Bakkavor Group this month pulled but then resurrected its market debut plan.

Up until November, British IPOs have this year raised US$5.2 billion, a 13 percent drop on the same period a year ago.

Peterborough, U.K.-based BGL Group distributes insurance and household financial services to 8.5 million customers and runs price comparison websites Comparethemarket.com in Britain and LesFurets.com in France.

Update: In a release, it was said CPPIB will nominate a non-executive director to BGL Group’s board with the deal’s closing.

Ryan Selwood, CPPIB managing director and head of direct private equity, said the investment will give the pension fund an opportunity to participate in a “dynamic, high-growth sector” and support “the success of BGL’s iconic brands.”

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of PE Hub Canada)

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