Linklaters senior corporate partner Charlie Jacobs is leading for Carlyle Group on the US buyout house’s early stage discussions to exit UK roadside recovery service RAC for a sum reported to be in the region of £2bn.
An IPO remains Carlyle Group’s preferred route for RAC, which the private equity house acquired from British insurer Aviva for £1bn in 2011, but it is understood that no decision has yet been taken and talks are reported to have taken place with potential buyers including Apax and BC Partners.
Carlyle Group is a longstanding Linklaters client, with relationship manager and private equity partner Alex Woodward having advised on its £600m acquisition of Integrated Dental Holdings and Associated Dental Practices in a move that created a combined entity with 450 dental practices. However, the group is also a major client for Los Angeles-founded US firm Latham & Watkins, which last year advised Carlyle on its acquisition of Chesapeake Packaging from private equity house Irving Place Capital and funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, and later on Chesapeake’s merger with Multi Packaging Solutions, led by former Clifford Chance partner David Walker.
Latham earlier this year hired senior Carlyle counsel Tom Alabaster as a partner in London.
Jacobs, who is the relationship partner for many of Linklaters international clients including mining groups Gold Fields and Implats, last year advised Glencore on its $45bn merger with Xstrata, having advised the mining giant on its 2011 IPO, in a listing on the London and Hong Kong exchanges valued at £7.3bn.
Carlyle discussions to dispose of RAC follows the recent IPO of rival roadside recovery group the AA, which private equity owners CVC and Permira floated in June for £1.4bn.
Revenue at RAC, which has over seven million members and attends 2.5m breakdowns every year, increased by 6% to £486 million in 2013.