One of the largest private hire groups in the UK (and in Europe), Addison Lee, has been put up for sale by its private equity owner Carlyle Group, reports The Guardian. Both Carlyle and Addison Lee declined to comment.
In April 2013 Carlyle paid £ 300m for a majority stake in the private hire company. After it received several unsolicited offers for the business, it decided to auction off Addison Lee. According to the newspaper private equity groups CVC Capital, Charterhouse and BC Partners have been invited to bid. The minicab firm could be sold for as much as £ 800m.
Carlyle is ready to cash in on Addison Lee’s strong performance. The minicab business, set up by former cabbie John Griffin with a single car in 1975, transports 10 million passengers around the capital every year, and is one of the main rivals to London’s black cabs. The black cabs have had to fight off stiff competition from apps that allow users to hail minicabs. Following the take-over by Carlyle, Addison Lee has expanded to Paris and New York. It plans to launch in other cities.
The outspoken Griffin Sr. recently stood down as chairman of the company, which trebled its net profits to £16m in its latest financial year. Turnover rose to £172m.
• For years Addison Lee has been the stiffest competitor to the taxi industry in London. Photo: Addison Lee.