Addison Lee’s banks plan to take control of minicab firm after bidders walk away
Sources said the company is this weekend scrambling to finalise a deal with a group of at least eight lenders that would stave off the threat of an administration.
Addison Lee owner Carlyle, the US private equity giant, faces being wiped out as lenders agree to refinance some of the loans in return for shares in the business.
The deal, which includes a package of new loans totalling roughly £165m, is expected to be announced in the coming days. However, sources cautioned that a number of hurdles remain and could yet delay completion.
Carlyle, which bought Addison Lee in a deal worth £300m in 2013, put the company on the market almost a year ago, appointing investment bank Rothschild to run the auction.
The process failed to yield satisfactory offers despite a flurry of parties initially registering interest. Some of the bids are understood to have been as low as £1 – which would have forced lenders to book tens of millions of pounds in losses.
Europe’s biggest minicab firm has come under pressure from tech-savvy rivals such as Uber in recent years, which has undercut prices.
Sources said the company has not completed ruled out an eleventh-hour swoop, though hopes are fading with many suitors put off by the prospect of running a company laden with sizeable loans and facing a challenging market.
All parties declined to comment.