Share-out for Saga workers after £1.35bn sale

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The Independent Online

Saga staff were poised for a major windfall today after the holidays-to-financial services group was sold in a £1.35 billion management buy-out.

Saga staff were poised for a major windfall today after the holidays-to-financial services group was sold in a £1.35 billion management buy-out.

The bonus, which will see workers receive £1,000 for every year of service, comes after chairman Roger De Haan agreed to share some of the sale proceeds.

Staff will also become shareholders in the company, which was sold to the existing management team and private equity group Charterhouse.

Today's move ends a long-running process which saw Saga toy with the idea of a stock market flotation.

Mr De Haan, whose family will pick up the bulk of the proceeds, said it was a "close-run decision" to choose a sale, but added that the management buy-out represented the best interests of shareholders, employees and customers.

Saga, which was taken private in 1991, employs about 2,500 people and earlier this year announced annual turnover of £382.7 million and profits of £81.6 million.

As well as a leading magazine, it has a database of eight million current and potential customers and near-universal brand awareness among its target market.

Sidney De Haan set up the Folkestone-based business from a hotel in 1951.

The executive management team of Saga will be unchanged following the deal, with chief executive Andrew Goodsell remaining in that position. The stakes of Charterhouse and the management in the new company have not been disclosed.

Mr Goodsell pointed out that the new ownership structure ensured continuity of service for customers.

He added: "For staff it will provide a shareholding in the company and confidence in the continuing integrity of the business."

The enterprise value of the deal has been put at £1.35 billion, although the level of debt included in the figure has not been announced.

As well as current staff, company pensioners will also be entitled to receive a portion of the sale proceeds from Mr De Haan.

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