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New owners say AA will remain independent

12 July 2004
New owners say AA will remain independent

Centrica has sold the Automobile Association and its related businesses for £1.7b to private equity firms Permira and CVC Capital Partners.

Permira, which owns the Travelodge budget hotel chain, and CVC Partners intend to run the AA as a separate company, with the aim of floating it on the stock market within five years.

It therefore seems that the AA and its publishing arm, including the AA guides to restaurants, hotels, pubs and B&Bs, will continue to run as normal for the time being.

The deal should be completed in the early autumn, when current AA managing director Roger Wood will retire. Wood created a storm in the restaurant world in 2002 when he overruled the AA restaurant guide's professional inspectors and blocked the award of a fifth rosette to Marcus Wareing's P‚trus restaurant.

Although this decision was later rescinded, it led to the resignation of the guide's editor, Simon Wright.

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