3i set for technology exit

Listed private equity group 3i will take another big step to off-load its unwanted investments this week.

After struggling through the downturn, 3i is looking to focus on what chairman Sir Adrian Montague considers to be its key investment areas and cut a heavy debt burden. Media & technology is not one of those sectors, and a shortlist of bidders for Civica, an IT company that counts 90 per cent of local authorities as clients, will be drawn up this week.

Private equity rivals Bain Capital, Advent, Apax, and Cinven are thought to be among the bidders. Civica is expected to fetch around £400m, about double the amount 3i paid, with the winning party likely to also try and buy KKR-owned Northgate Managed Services.

This would create a giant in the niche world of public-sector software provision. 3i recently sold its 38.6 per cent stake in the Giraffe restaurant chain to Tesco.