Private investment firm Carlyle has emerged as the clear favourite to buy the European transport group Arriva, as Deutsche Bahn inches towards a decision to sell rather than float the company. However, no deal is imminent and British politics seem to be complicating the timing of the deal and the decision as to which assets to sell.
Carlyle is holding exclusive talks with Deutsche Bahn about a deal at around €2.5bn, having seen off a number of competitive bids from others which are reported to have included Deutsche Bank’s pension arm DWS and the US private equity company Apollo Global Management.
However, it is stressed that no decision to proceed with the sale will be taken before December at the earliest and it appears the most controversial and one of the most high-profile of Arriva’s assets will not be part of any sale. Northern Rail is believed to have been excluded from the auction in the face of continuing uncertainty as to the risk that the business will be renationalised.
Arriva is one of the loading integrated transport companies in Europe, with annual revenues of €5.4bn from providing journeys for 2.4 billion people annually.