Sale on the cards for Addison Lee

Tue, 23 Sep 2014 | BUSINESS SALE

Cab firm Addison Lee has turned away from a listing on the stock market and is now pursuing a sale after its private equity owners received some unsolicited bids.

Carlyle Group paid £300 million for a controlling stake in London’s dominant minicab business less than 18 months ago. BC Partners, Charterhouse and CVC Capital are among the parties understood to be interested in the company, which has driven its business overseas to Paris and New York and intends to establish itself in other cities.

As much as £800 million could change hands in a deal for Addison Lee, which reported after-tax profits of £16 million with sales of £171 million in its accounts to August 2013.

Founded in 1975 by former cabbie John Griffin with one car, it has expanded to a fleet of 4,500 vehicles, carrying out 10 million journeys a year. Its courier operation is also highly successful, delivering one million packages a year with 15,000 corporate accounts in London.

Mr Griffin sold the business to Carlyle, pocketing £150 million it is thought. On the sale news he said to reporters he thinks the business is worth considerably less due to increased competition in the market from new arrivals such as Uber, which uses smartphone cab-ordering technology.

A Carlyle spokesman confirmed that a sale is on the cards, saying: “The business needs more capital to expand.”

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