Fleet News

Sale of Auto Windscreens gathers momentum

THE first round of bids for up-for-sale Auto Windscreens are being considered by Morgan Grenfell, the bank advising the glass company's parent Hayward Williams, with Cendant Corporation, Lex Service, Kwik-Fit and a string of venture capitalists rumoured to be among those interested. The sale is interesting because there is no obvious buyer, and bidders are thought to include motor groups, fast-fit companies and finance houses.

Richard Usher, sales and marketing director of Auto Windscreens, said only that 'we have had a high level of interest from trade and financial buyers'. The company's price tag is rumoured to be around £60 million - a substantial sum, but one which pales compared to the money chasing RAC Motoring Services before Cendant Corporation won the battle with a £450 million bid.

Auto Windscreens would be another logical acquisition for Cendant, given the American corporation's enthusiasm for related databases: Auto Windscreens captures a customer's name, address and vehicle type every time it repairs or replaces glass.

Lex Service was one of the unsuccessful bidders for the RAC, and is rumoured to be in the chase for Auto Windscreens, while speculation has circulated for years that Kwik-Fit was looking to add a windscreen service to its portfolio. The hot betting is on a finance house buying Auto Windscreens, potentially leading to a stock market flotation.

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