July 7, 2019
(CMR) A company connected to the Paradise Papers leak has been put up for sale by its private equity owners for up to £700million.
City sources said British buy-out firm Bridgepoint is seeking a buyer for Estera, a company that was formerly owned by offshore legal services firm Appleby.
Appleby is the Bermuda-based law firm that in 2017 was at the centre of the leaking of 13.4million financial documents relating to offshore investments in tax havens in the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. Dubbed the Paradise Papers, they revealed a complex web of controversial investments and embarrassing details of tax affairs of politicians, billionaires and Russian oligarchs.
Estera, which focuses on selling trust and corporate administration services, used to be part of Appleby until Bridgepoint backed a buy-out in 2016.
People familiar with the situation said it was important to stress that Estera gives no legal, tax or structuring advice to clients. Sources said advisers from ING and Deutsche Bank have been appointed to look at ‘strategic options' for Estera. One of those ‘options' is likely to include a sale.
Some of the potential bidders include rival trust administration firms and private equity houses. One source said private equity firm Inflexion is interested in Estera with a view to combining it with Ocorian, a rival trust administration business that the private equity firm owns. Reports also suggested investment firm CVC Capital Partners, which owns compliance and administration services group TMF, may also be interested in buying Estera.
Bridgepoint – one of Britain's most well-known private equity firms – declined to comment. It's past and current investments include upmarket personal care brand Molton Brown, clothing retailer Fat Face and Deliveroo, the online food delivery company.
Last year, Bridgepoint sold Pret A Manger for £1.5billion to JAB, a vehicle backed by Germany's billionaire Reimann family. It owned Pret for almost a decade.
The Paradise Papers included financial secrets of giants of the investment world including US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, billionaire banker Warren Stephens and billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.