Four Buyout Houses Readying Bids For Wood MacKenzie

(Reuters) – Four private equity firms are preparing binding bids for Wood Mackenzie, the energy consulting firm owned by beleaguered rival Candover, ahead of a June 2 deadline, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Bain Capital, Charterhouse Capital Partners [CHCAP.UL], Hellman & Friedman and Warburg Pincus [WP.UL] are preparing bids for Wood Mackenzie, the source said, confirming an earlier report by Financial News.

However, several other sources familiar with the matter said bids were likely to significantly undershoot the 650 million pound ($1.04 billion) price tag that newspaper reports had originally attached to the company.

At least 10 groups, including consultancies and trade rivals as well as private equity firms, submitted indicative bids for Wood Mackenzie earlier this month, a source familiar with the matter said on May 13.

Edinburgh-based Wood Mackenzie is a research and consulting firm specialising in oil, gas, coal, metals and mining. Candover owns 67 percent of the firm, with management holding the rest.

Goldman Sachs is running the sale.

Candover’s own listed parent, Candover Investments Plc (CDI.L), is itself in talks with several parties about a takeover or a stake sale. [ID:nLD856904] Wood Mackenzie, Candover, Hellman & Friedman and Warburg Pincus declined to comment. Bain could not immediately be reached for comment. Charterhouse did not return a request for comment. ($1=.6280 pounds) (Reporting by Quentin Webb, Simon Meads and Victoria Howley; Editing by Douwe Miedema, Greg Mahlich))