BDC eyes up exhibition sites?

Shipping-to-leisure operator P&O is understood to be in close discussions with London’s Business Design Centre about the sale of its Earl’s Court and Olympia exhibition halls.

Neither P&O, which owns the venues, nor the BDC could comment on reports circulating within the industry that the BDC is poised to buy the sites. Together, the two venues rank as the second biggest exhibition space in the UK after the Birmingham NEC.

A spokeswoman for Olympia confirms that P&O is selling the venues, which cover 99 000sqm of exhibition space in total. She could not, however, comment on any bids or when a sale is likely to be approved. The complex is expected to raise £250m.

Stock Exchange regulations prevent P&O from revealing details of any sale before a statement is issued on the Regulatory News Service and shareholders have been informed.

P&O acquired the exhibition halls during the 1970s, buying Earl’s Court in 1972 and Olympia the following year. BDC is a privately-owned company which has one venue in London. Its sister company is shopfitter CIL.

BDC director Andrew Morris was unable to comment on reports of a deal with P&O as Design Week went to press.

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