'No win, no fee' firm in line for auction

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The Independent Online

LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds TSB, has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to look at a £90m sale of National Accident Helpline.

The helpline, which provides "no win, no fee" legal services for people suffering accidental injury, is co-owned by LDC and the management team, led by Alan Kennedy. They are thought to be hoping for £70m to £90m from a sale that is attracting heavy interest from private equity groups.

PWC won the mandate against opposition from other big accounting firms, including Ernst & Young and KPMG. A sale is the preferred option, but a source said a refinancing could happen if bids did not meet expectations.

The source added: "LDC intends to sell if the price is right and a process will start in September. It has already received lots of calls expressing interest."

LDC bought the helpline in 2006. July was the most successful month in the history of the company, founded in 1993.

PWC declined to comment. LDC and National Accident Hotline were unavailable for comment.

w Esporta, the beleaguered fitness chain, is to break up into racket and non-racket clubs. Preferred bidders have been selected for the two halves of the business, dashing the hopes of administrators at Grant Thornton who thought an outright sale would raise more money.

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