Varde Partners has closed the all-cash purchase of Bizspace Group, the UK provider of flexible business accommodation for approximately £138m.
Varde acquired 100% of the shares and assets of the Bizspace group of companies and, through its acquisition, substantially deleveraged the group’s balance sheet.
CoStar News was first to break the story last month on the sales process, dubbed Project Spring, triggered by the enforcement of defaulted debt held by RBS, HSBC, Allied Irish Bank and Nationwide.
PricewaterhouseCoopers and Savills managed the sale of the distressed company on behalf of the banks. Allsop and APAM were advisers to Varde on the operating business acquisition.
Varde is in discussion with a number of clearing bank and debt funds to finance the acquisition within the next month, and is thought to be seeking a five-year 65% loan-to-cost (LTC) senior loan, equating to around £90m. Given the quality of the underlying, the margin is likely to come in around 200 basis points, CoStar News understands.
Bizspace, which leases commercial units, offices, studios, industrial units and storage to hundreds of businesses across the country, has a 5.87m sq ft commercial property portfolio across 97 multi-let sites in England and Scotland over 6,004 units. Around 76% of the assets by value is weighted towards light industrial units.
Gareth Evans, managing director at Bizspace, said: “Bizspace’s focus on supporting small and start-up businesses remains at the forefront of our business model.
“The sale is fantastic news not only for Bizspace and our staff, but for all our existing and potential customers.
“This deal will allow us to acquire new business centres, ensuring continued growth to meet strong customer demand, and will allow us to make additional investments in our current sites.
“Our ongoing focus on customer satisfaction produces great ideas for improvement, ensuring that our customer experience is second to none.”
Tim Mooney, senior managing director at Varde Partners added: “We are pleased to be working with Gareth and the team.
“Bizspace has a proven business model and continues to support growing businesses, particularly the small business segment which accounts for one in every three jobs in the UK. We hope our ownership will enable the company to increase that support through the acquisition of additional under managed assets.”