One of Britain’s largest machinery hire suppliers, HSS Hire Group, is rumoured to be in the final stage of negotiations on a deal that would see it acquired by Exponent Private Equity. According to the stock watchers at proactiveinvestors.co.uk, the sale is “days away” from going through.
HSS Hire Group, which is arguably the most recognisable tool rental brand in the UK – offering everything from carpet cleaners and power drills to larger equipment such as mini diggers and forklifts – is currently owned by the investment vehicle Aurigo and hedge fund Och-Ziff, which paid £310m to acquire HSS from 3i back in 2007. The Manchester-based group was put in the shop window earlier this year and is expected to be sold for a substantial profit.
Exponent Private Equity focuses on mid-size UK companies with an enterprise value up to £350m and is currently dipping into an £800m investment fund to make acquisitions. The firm was set up in 2004 and counts a number of high-profile acquisitions in its portfolio, including Gorkana Group, Quorn Foods and Ambassador Theatre Group.
HSS, headed by chief executive Chris Davies, employs more than 2,100 staff in total across its network of 230 equipment hire depots. The group also employs over 300 people at its headquarters and owns a call centre in Urmston, an equipment refurbishment centre in Trafford Park and a regional distribution hub in Ancoats.