§ Mr. Hawkins
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to complete the sale of DERA's support services division; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Soames
Following competition, we have assessed the bid put forward by the venture capital group, Apax Partners and Co., who propose working with the existing DSSD management team, as offering the best value for money. Consequently, Apax have been granted a period of exclusivity to allow them to carry out the due diligence process and to conclude a contract with DERA on the basis of their offer. Subject to the satisfactory completion of both of these processes, it is intended that a sale should be completed by mid-February.