Britain?s biggest start-up to be sold for 1p

Rumours are swirling that Picture Financial is to be sold for just 1p after Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch refused to provide further funding to the business. The Times reports that such a sale may take place in the next week. Last week, Picture stopped lending to new customers.

Originally backed by Apax Partners, Picture Financial has been a poster-child for the Welsh economy, a hyper-growth company that is just the kind of services business that the principality needs in a post-manufacturing era.

As our sister title Real Deals reports today, Picture hired corporate finance boutique Kinmont to find a buyer and negotiate with the banks last November. Kinmont has held talks with several trade buyers and distressed specialists including Cerberus and WL Ross and traditional private equity firms.

A statement on the Picture website says: “We will not comment specifically on rumour and speculation regarding the sale of Picture.

“Picture is still talking to a number of possible investors all of whom are very interested in being a part of Picture?s future, and we remain very enthused by the potential.”

Apax may not be enthusing, having invested ?35m in the start-up. Picture CEO Neville Allport was named Western Mail Business Achiever of the Year in 2007.

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