The London private equity firm that currently employs ex-Tory minister Philip Hammond is seeking to a finalise a deal to takeover one of Britain’s biggest civil engineering firms, Amey Plc.
Buckthorn Partners, which took on Lord Hammond as a partner in 2020, has teamed up with US private equity firm One Equity Partners to buy up the outsourcing company that runs London’s Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and the Manchester Metrolink.
The two private equity players have now entered a period of exclusive negotiations, during which they hope to finalise their £200m takeover deal, according to Sky News.
The deal, which has been in the works for at least nine months, could be sealed within a matter of weeks. It comes after the Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial, which acquired Amey in 2003, first set out to sell the engineering contractor in 2018.
Amey, which employs around 15,000 workers, is currently one of the government’s major private sector contractors, through its work across various sectors including prisons, schools, transport, and defence.
The negotiations come after Whitehall’s Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA) imposed a two-year ban on the former Chancellor of the Exchequer from aiding companies in their efforts to win UK government contracts, after he stepped down from the government in 2019.
In a letter to the life peer, ACOBA banned the former chancellor from taking up “any work as a partner that involves providing advice to any company organisation on the terms of, or with regard to the subject matter of, a bid with or contract directly relating to the work of the UK government.”