William Pears, the property investment group, has emerged as a surprise frontrunner in the £1.5bn bidding war for Land Securities Trillium, the outsourcing giant.
The previously untouted William Pears had made the four-strong shortlist for Trillium, a source close to the auction said. The shortlist was drawn up late last week after the submission of indicative bids on Monday. Other bidders include Macquarie, the Australian bank, and Apax, the buyout giant. There is dispute over the fourth bidder, with one source naming Cinven and another identifying Charterhouse Capital Partners.
Other private equity parties hope to crash the auction later. Candover mulled a bid, but its interest cooled as it struggled to price Trillium, a complex business.
It is believed that Land Securities has asked for second-round bids by the middle of May.
The sale of Trillium is part of a three-way break-up of Land Securities, a FTSE 100 stalwart. A spokesman for Trillium declined to comment. William Pears did not return calls on Friday.Reuse content