Portakabin offers EQT shepherd family for bumper payday

The Yorkshire family behind Portakabin’s modular building group are heading for a colossal payday amid talks with investors about a potential deal.

Sky News has learned that EQT Infrastructure is among the parties in discussions with the Shepherd Group, founded in 1890 by Frederick Shepherd, about a takeover of Portakabin.

An insider described Sweden-based EQT on Tuesday as the front-runner to secure a deal, although it was unclear whether it was in exclusive talks or whether other bidders remained in contention.

The size and structure of a transaction was also unclear.

Shepherd Group, which is based in York, has drafted in bankers from Rothschild to launch a process over the summer.

Some reports suggested it could be valued at as much as £2bn, although that figure could not be verified.

The company invented the Portaloo toilet units, now widely used at festivals and sporting events, and Portakabin was formed as an independent company in 1961.

A rival company called Modulaire was bought by Brookfield from TDR Capital in 2021 for about 5 billion. USD, which underlines investors’ interest in the sector.

Portakabin operates in seven countries and employs about 2,200 people, according to its website.

Shepherd Group and EQT both declined to comment.

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