Monday, 24 November 2014

Permira, Bridgepoint said to weigh £500 million bids for Big Bus Tours

Wow - the UK M&A market has suddenly roared back into life. And to think last Thursday I was on Tip TV noting how quiet it was in the British dealmaking scene for this time of year.

A few days later it emerged insurance giant Aviva is in advanced talks to buy Friends Life for over £5 billion (multiple hat tips to Kleinman of Sky News, Neil Hume at the Financial Times and Geoff Foster over at the Daily Mail for smoking out this deal). BT, meanwhile, announced this morning that it is looking at purchasing either O2 or EE. I guess that will probably be the last time I ever say it is "quiet" in UK M&A (yes, I realise I have used this joke twice in the last fortnight).

Anyway, moving swiftly on. Here is an interesting snippet on another deal brewing in the UK although nowhere near as large or glamorous as some of the transactions mentioned above. I hear from good sources private equity firms Permira and Bridgepoint are some of buy-out firms that are working hard on submitting first round bids for the Big Bus company, which has been put up for sale by its owners for the best part of £500 million.

Here is a link to a Reuters article on JP Morgan's appointment to handle the sale process of Bug Bus Tours for the Maybury family:

Don't expect a conclusion to this auction anytime soon as the sale process has only just started and I'm sure there are few other bidders out there.      

Permira and Bridgepoint both declined to comment.

UPDATE: A source gets in touch with some fresh info on this situation. Apparently some of the other parties looking at Big Bus Tours include private equity firms such as Advent International and Providence. Omers, the Canadian pension giant, is also rumoured to be interested.  

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