OFFICE rental firm Regus has tabled a £40million bid for London’s largest serviced office provider as it seeks to boost its presence in the capital.

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The deal to buy MWB Business Exchange will add 64 business centres across the UK to its existing network, including a further 39 centres across London.

Regus said while it was too early to give an idea of the exact impact on staff, it expected that there would be job cuts to strip out duplication.

Business Exchange, which employs about 500 staff, is 75% owned by MWB Group which fell into administration last month, although Business Exchange was unaffected.

The administrators of MWB, from Deloitte, will now put its stake in Business Exchange out to tender for eight weeks. If a better offer is received, Regus has the option to out-bid by at least £500,000.

Regus founder and chief executive Mark Dixon went to school in Chelmsford and one of his early businesses involved a fleet of burger vans which operated along London’s North Circular road and the A12. He also ran sandwich making and bakery businesses before launching Regus in 1989.

The company now has around 1,200 sites worldwide, including about 140 in the UK, serving customers including Google, GlaxoSmithKline and Nokia. It opened 139 new locations last year, although only three of these were in the UK, and plans to have 2,000 sites by 2014.

Group profits more than doubled to £50.6m last year after it grew sales by 12%, helped by the opening of the new sites and through cost savings as it renegotiated leases. In the UK, gross profits nearly doubled to £29.7m.

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