CAP aims for growth after sale to private equity

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A YORKSHIRE-based firm that provides data to the automotive sector is gearing up for growth after being bought by a major private equity firm.

Montagu Private Equity has reached an agreement to acquire Leeds-based CAP from the Top Right Group.

Although the financial details have not been made public, the Yorkshire Post understands the business is being sold for between £150m and £200m.

The deal is expected to close later this month.

If you’ve ever hired, bought, sold or leased a car or van, it is likely that you will have used CAP data.

The company, which has 90 staff and a turnover of between £20m and £22m, provides the databases behind most automotive valuation and technical specification websites.

With the support of Montagu, the company’s management plans to continue CAP’s record of growth through further investment in the company’s technology and expansion into new markets.

Ian Rendle, the general manager of CAP, said: “All of CAP’s products are based on our expertise within the market place, our close relationships within the industry and our dedication to develop key business solutions for our customers.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Montagu, who share our vision for the future of the company and fully support us in our continued commitment to delivering a market leading service to our clients.”

A spokesman for Top Right Group, which is the former Emap International, said: “CAP is a growing business. Top Right Group has already significantly invested in new permanent full-time staff this year, particularly in sales and operations.

“While nothing is guaranteed, Montagu has said they will further invest in the business and look to accelerate CAP’s business plans, which could lead to more new roles being created in Leeds.”

Edward Shuckburgh, the director of Montagu, said: “Montagu believes that CAP has significant opportunities to build on its market leading position.

“We are excited about working with an experienced and energetic management team, who are eager to accelerate the company’s development to the benefit of all stakeholders.”

The value released by this transaction will be reinvested by Top Right Group back into the operating businesses. It will also be used to fund strategic acquisitions.

A Top Right Group spokesman said yesterday: “CAP is a very successful and profitable UK business and has a long and distinguished heritage.

“The price paid was a significant return on investment, which the board felt would take many years to deliver organically.”

Emap bought CAP, which was founded in Leeds in 1979, for £20m in 1994.

The spokesman added: “Several growth areas have been identified and Montagu will support and rely on the existing management team to deliver the business plan for the future supported by their teams.”

Duncan Painter, the chief executive of Top Right Group, said: “We believe Montagu is an excellent partner for the business as they have extensive experience within the sector and will work effectively with management teams to further develop the valuable information CAP provides to its customers.”

Tim Wheldon of Leeds-based law firm Addleshaw Goddard advised management.

He was the only Yorkshire-based adviser involved with the deal.

Linklaters acted for Montague.