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Domestic & General accepts £524m bid

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Domestic & General (D&G), the extended warranties specialist, has accepted a £524 million takeover bid from Advent International in the first major private equity acquisition of a public company in the UK since the credit crunch began. Advent revealed today it will use a mixture of equity and debt to fund a £14.25 per share bid for D&G, which first revealed it was in takeover talks four months ago.

Homeserve, the home emergency insurance firm, scrapped a bid for D&G a week ago. Shares in D&G, which have climbed 5 per cent in the past four days, were unchanged at £12.64 in early trading.

Nicholas Rochez, D&G's chairman, said: "After careful consideration and deliberation,the independent directors are unanimous in their recommendation that the shareholders should vote in favour of the acquisition.

"Whilst we believe there to be significant long term potential in D&G, Advent's offer allows shareholders the opportunity to realise their entire investment now at an attractive cash premium."

Several private equity deals have been shelved or restructured over the past month as turmoil in global financial markets continues.

However, Mr Rochez said he did not believe Advent's deal signified a change in sentiment, explaining that it had secured its funding "a very long time" ago.

He said: "I think we have caught the end of the last train. I'm told that there are unlikely to be deals like this for the foreseeable future.

"They were a number of people in the bid process and Advent was one of those that has been in for a long time."

Advent has completed more than 200 buyouts and takeovers valued at nearly £15 billion in the past two decades.

It said it would invest in D&G once the deal is completed, by growing the group's position in the UK and continue its recent expansion overseas.

The private equity group added that there would be no "material" changes to staffing levels and pension rights would be safeguarded.

John Singer, Advent's chairman, said: "We look forward to working with D&G's management nad employees in continuing to develop and invest the ncessary time and cash resources in its business and brand."

D&G has 4.4 million customers and provides cover for 6 million appliances. It has warranty partnerships with Electrolux and Whirlpool, the white goods manufacturers.

The D&G management are being offered a stake in the takeover vehicle set up by Advent to make the bid.

D&G has agreed to a £5.2 million break-fee in the event of a rival bid from a third party.

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