Singapore rail operator SMRT Corp. is considering a potential £800 m million (US$1.3 billion) takeover bid for Addison Lee, London’s biggest minicab company, according to Sky News.
Talks are under way but they are at the early stages, the report said.
Private equity group Carlyle, which owns Addison Lee, has put up the company for auction, just 18 months after acquiring it for £300 million.
Credit Suisse, the investment bank handling the sale, is asking bidders to submit their initial proposals next week.
SMRT, which runs bus, train and taxi services in Singapore, is expected to be joined in the bidding by up to half a dozen buyout firms, including BC Partners, Charterhouse and CVC Capital Partners.
Addison Lee, which was founded by former cab driver John Griffin with a single car in 1975, handles 10 million passenger journeys annually, with more than 4,000 drivers on its books.
The company’s boss enraged rivals when he suggested that its drivers should use bus lanes, and accused cyclists of causing many of the road accidents in London which have prompted concern among safety groups.
Addison Lee has dismissed suggestions that the emergence of new economy companies such as Uber will diminish its growth prospects, arguing that the two companies serve separate customer bases.
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