‘Timing meant EMI was my worst deal, but it could have been best’

ONE of the leading figures in private equity investment world, Guernsey resident Guy Hands, has spoken out about his best and worst deals over his career in investment, which formally ended as he turned 64 at the weekend.

Guy Hands.
Guy Hands.

Mr Hands, who moved to Guernsey in 2009, having operated much of his business from the island since 2002, told staff at his company Terra Firma that he would retire on his 64th birthday.

‘It is a bitter-sweet moment to leave the firm but I am very proud and confident in those who are taking over Terra Firma,’ he told the monthly business magazine Business Brief, which is run by the Guernsey Press.

‘This is something that has been in the works for a long period of time now and it very much feels like the right time in my life for the next chapter, both for me and Terra Firma.’

He said he and his wife Julia would continue to get involved with philanthropic and charitable causes, particularly focusing on inclusion, diversity and opportunities for all.

He told the magazine that his most successful deal was the £690m. purchase of the train-leasing company Angel Trains in 1995. It generated an internal rate of return of 528%.

The worst was the notorious purchase of EMI in 2007. He paid £2.4bn shortly before the global financial crisis and ‘the deal got immeasurably difficult’, he said. He ended up in a long-running legal battle, and personally lost 200m. euros in the deal.

‘If we had not lost control in 2011 and managed to hold on for another year, it would have ended up becoming our most successful deal, as the value of music companies recovered from 2012 onwards and the eventual value of the business would have been over £23.6bn, using today’s exchange rate, against the purchase price of £3.2bn.

‘I have reflected a lot on what we could have done differently, but timing is everything, and we got our timing on that deal completely wrong.’

Mr Hands attempted legal recourse until giving up the case halfway through proceedings in London courts in 2016.

. The magazine is out this week. It is widely available locally and will be on www.briefci.com later in the week.

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