Strategic review for AA

The AA and Saga’s five-year marriage is in danger of coming to an end after its owner launched a strategic review, it was reported today.

The AA and Saga’s five-year marriage is in danger of coming to an end after its owner launched a strategic review, it was reported today.

Acromas, the debt-laden owner of the motoring organisation and over-50s insurance and travel firm, has hired accountants Ernst & Young to explore options for the business, which serves more than 18 million consumers in the UK.

The move raises the prospect that Acromas will be broken up in order to return cash to its private equity backers, including Charterhouse and CVC.

The AA, which dates back to 1905 and has 16 million members, is worth about £5bn (€6.24bn) while Saga could fetch up to £4bn (€5bn), the Sunday Times said.

The business was formed through a £6.1bn (€7.6bn) merger deal at the height of the credit boom in 2007 that was funded by £4.8bn (€5.99bn) of debt.

Unlike other debt-fuelled deals at that time, Acromas has managed to reduce its debt mountain while most of the cash borrowed to finance the takeover does not have to be repaid until 2015.

In full-year results published in July, Acromas said it was still looking at a stock-market flotation of the whole group.

The business, whose other brands include motoring school BSM and Titan Travel, grew turnover by 15% to £2.1bn (€2.6bn) in the year to January while earnings improved 4% to £592m (€739.9m).

Its 38,000-strong workforce is led by chief executive Andrew Goodsell.

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