An investment arm of the taxpayer-backed Lloyds Bank is to take control of the government-owned corporation, the NEC Group. The group owns the National Exhibition Centre, the International Convention Centre and the Barclaycard Arena, all of which are in Birmingham. The deal is in order to cut costs and fund an equal pay bill for the owner, Birmingham City Council. LDC will take control of the group in a deal expected to be worth around £300 million but it is unsure whether the City Council will remain a shareholder.
In 2012 Birmingham City Council lost a high court case against cleaners and dinner ladies who brought the case for equal pay. The bill for equal pay compensation is now up to £1 billion. The NEC group also owns a national ticketing agency called The Ticket Factory; Amplify, a hospitality brand; and Amadeus, a catering operation. LDC is understood to have seen off initial competition from other private equity funds including Providence Equity Partners. Birmingham Council leader, Sir Albert Bore said last March’A key purpose of the city council investing in establishing the NEC Group more than 30 years ago was to drive economic development and regeneration.’ This deal is hoped to continue the economic development.