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Blackstone leads bidders for €800m Crufts host

By Mark Kleinman, City editor
The world's biggest property investor is leading a pack of bidders vying for control of the NEC Group, the Birmingham entertainment and exhibitions complex which plays host to Crufts.
Sky News has learnt that Blackstone, which has amassed a vast global real estate portfolio, tabled an offer for NEC ahead of a deadline on Thursday.
Other suitors for the company are said to include rival private equity firms TDR Capital, Charterhouse and Onex.Blackstone's expertise as a property investor as well as its ownership of Clarion Events, an events and exhibitions group, have led it to be regarded as the favourite to buy the NEC.The NEC auction is expected to be one of the most hotly contested in the UK this year, with prospective buyers drawn to a business which has seen revenue and profit surge since it was sold by Birmingham City Council in 2015.‎Sources say the company, which was bought by LDC, the buyout arm of Lloyds Banking Group, for just €307m, could now change hands for well over €800m.Such a sale price would put the executives who run LDC in line for a collective windfall running to more than €100m.
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