Pearl hires PwC over VPS sale

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The Independent Online

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the big-four accountant, has been hired by Pearl Group, the insurance giant, to consider the sale of empty building management firm VPS Holdings.

TDR Capital, the former co-owner of Pearl which still holds a 10 per cent stake in the business following a restructuring earlier this year, manages VPS for Pearl. It is understood that the London-based private-equity group is interested in buying VPS, which is worth up to £200m.

Beside investment firm Sun Capital, TDR owned Pearl outright until a restructuring earlier this year; Pearl struggled during the financial crisis.

VPS, which is based in Hertfordshire but has global offices, including Berlin and Chicago, protects and manages "void properties" – which is particularly lucrative in the US because of the failures related to sub-prime mortgages.

PwC's formal role is to consider strategic options – a phrase often used before a sale. But it is thought PwC is likely to recommend Pearl shareholders retain the business until the market picks up, as it is performing well.