David Buchler, described by colleagues as the ‘doyen’ of UK corporate
restructuring, will push once more to buy
Kroll, the business he once
helped run after having two advances ignored.
Sources close to Buchler say that he will work for more ‘substantive talks’
with the current owners, Marsh & McClennan, after the US insurance broker
announced a $440m (£225m) writedown on Kroll and signalled that parts of the
business could be up for sale.
An offer by Buchler at the beginning of this month, with the backing of
private equity group BC Partners, was reported as reaching $1.5bn but was
rebuffed by Marsh.
Earlier efforts by Buchler in April also met with no reaction.
Marsh bought Kroll in 2004 for $1.9bn. Observers have described Buchler’s
efforts as an ‘enormous’ development for the UK restructuring industry, though
it would be the biggest deal Buchler has so been involved in.
Buchler is understood to believe that Kroll has suffered from
under-investment and that it could be a much bigger business than it currently
Sources say he would invest in Kroll’s scale, should his latest bid prove
successful. Observers point to the departure of key personnel as a major
difficulty facing the business.
Buchler is well known to senior managers within Kroll, including Simon
Freakley, who worked with Buchler at Buchler Phillips in 1995.
Freakley was chief executive of Kroll until a recent sideways move.
According to Marsh’s 2007 annual report, the risk consulting and technology
business, operated through Kroll, saw revenues grow by only 2% to $995m.
A statement in the report said: ‘Kroll has been a source of volatility and
disappointment. We are looking at the businesses of Kroll and working to
determine how the parts of Kroll relate to each other and how they fit with the
rest of Marsh.’
Buchler currently runs turnaround specialists DB Consultants, based in
He was a founder of Buchler Phillips, which then merged with Kroll, where
Buchler was chairman for Europe until 2003.
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