Mergermarket in Private Equity News
03 March, 2014
Dublin-based Cartrawler, the owner of the Holiday Autos car rental brand, was put up for sale by lower mid-market private equity firm ECI Partners with first round bids due last month. ECI bought a 50% stake in Cartrawler in 2011 in a deal that gave the company a reported enterprise value of about €100 million.
PwC was appointed in recent months to manage the auction. Cartrawler is expected to be sold for between €450 million and €500 million, said two people familiar with the matter.
Berkshire’s interest in Cartrawler comes as U.S. buyouts of European companies reached their highest number ever last year. In 2013 there were 139 U.S. led buyouts of European companies worth $22.3 billion according to data provider Mergermarket. This was despite the value of U.S. led deals falling, indicating U.S. funds are targeting smaller deals in Europe.
Berkshire has previously invested in Skillsoft, another Dublin-based company that specialises in cloud-based learning.
Berkshire is vying with several large European buyout firms for Cartrawler, which connects customers with car rental suppliers, and distributes cars from 30,000 locations in 174 countries, according to ECI’s website. Both Charterhouse and BC Partners have made it through to the second round of the Cartrawler auction, according to people familiar with the matter.
The people said Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and U.S.-based Technology Crossover Ventures also expressed an interest in buying the asset, but that it was unclear whether they were still serious contenders for the business. Previous reports also suggested mid-market firms Advent International and Montagu were interested in Cartrawler although it is not clear whether they have made into the second round of the auction.