Parking Operator Indigo Said to Draw Chinese, Buyout Funds

  • Ardian, Credit Agricole unit said to seek 4 billion euros
  • Macquarie, CKI and KKR said to be among potential bidders

The owners of French parking lot operator Indigo started a sale process this week, sending information out to potential bidders in China, as well as infrastructure and private equity firms, according to people familiar with the matter.

Ardian SAS and Predica, an arm of Credit Agricole SA, are aiming to fetch about 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion) for the asset, the people said, asking not to be identified because talks are private. The price is based on a valuation of 13 to 14 times Indigo’s earnings, one of the people said.

The buyout firms are working with Morgan Stanley and Rothschild & Co. to find bidders, which are expected to make indicative offers in mid-May and binding offers in the first half of July, the person said.

Potential buyers include infrastructure investors -- such as Macquarie Group Ltd. and Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd., as well as Chinese companies like China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Fosun International Ltd. and China Merchants Group -- according to the people. Indigo has also drawn interest from sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. and private equity firms including KKR & Co. and Blackstone Group LP, the people said.

Indigo is drawing suitors as investors look for infrastructure-like investments with steady cash flows and returns. Any deal would add to the $128.1 billion in takeovers of European companies this year, up from $118.4 billion during the same period in 2016, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Indigo, formerly known as Vinci Park, operates in more than 750 cities in 17 countries. It has more than 5,300 car parks and 19,000 employees, according to its website.

A representative for Predica didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Spokesmen for Ardian, Indigo, China Merchants, China Oceanwide, Fosun, KKR, Blackstone, Morgan Stanley, Rothschild and Macquarie declined to comment, while representatives for CIC and Cheung Kong Infrastructure didn’t immediately respond.

The Indigo sale process may face competition from Q-Park NV, another parking operator being sold by Dutch insurance companies and pension funds. That business has attracted similar bidders, including Macquarie, the people said.

Ardian and Predica each own about 49.2 percent of Infra Park SAS, the holding company for Indigo Infra SA. The rest is owned by employees and management.

— With assistance by Aaron Kirchfeld, Ruth David, Dingmin Zhang, Emma Dong, Dong Lyu, Prudence Ho, Jing Yang De Morel, Emily Cadman, Sarah Syed, and Vinicy Chan

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