Milken and Murdoch in Heron bid

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GERALD RONSON is expected to stay at the helm of Heron International under the terms of a bid being negotiated with a US-based investment group that includes Rupert Murdoch and trusts for the benefit of the children of Michael Milken, the former Wall Street junk bond specialist, writes Peter Rodgers.

But Mr Ronson is understood to have no involvement in the bid itself. HNV Acquisition has been chosen from a shortlist of six as the preferred candidate to buy the property and petrol stations group. The search for a buyer began earlier this year when Heron became technically in default on the restructuring agreement for its pounds 1.3bn of debt.

The bidding vehicle was set up by a group headed by Steven Green, chairman and chief executive of Astrum International, which owns the Samsonite luggage group. Meshulam Riklis, a Wall Street investor, is the key shareholder in Astrum.

Mr Green has assembled a group who will invest as limited partners in HNV, including Mr Murdoch, chairman of The News Corporation, and the Milken Family Trusts.