John Laing, the infrastructure investor, has become the latest British company to fall to American private equity.
It has agreed to a takeover by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for 403p in cash, a 27 per cent premium to its share price on May 5 when news of KKR‘s interest was revealed. The deal values John Laing at about £2 billion.
Commenting on the Acquisition, Will Samuel, Chairman of the Board of John Laing, said: “John Laing has considered the offer from KKR from a position of strength. The management team announced a new strategy for sustainable growth in November 2020 and has made good progress in repositioning the group by de-risking the portfolio, improving the financial performance, recruiting new talent and accelerating investment momentum.
Whilst the Board has full confidence in John Laing’s strategy and management team, it is clear that many of the initiatives are at an early stage of development, retain an element of execution risk and that it will take time for these to deliver value. The John Laing Board believes that the offer from KKR represents an attractive and certain value in cash today for John Laing shareholders and reflects the high quality of the business, its people and future prospects, as well as providing a positive outcome for John Laing pensioners. KKR is a strong partner, providing long-term capital and global expertise to accelerate John Laing’s strategy, growing the development capacity and assets of John Laing and creating opportunities for our employees and broader stakeholders. This is particularly relevant in the current environment where there may be significant opportunities to invest in critical infrastructure which responds to public needs.
“I am proud of John Laing, an established leader in the infrastructure market with unique expertise, strong relationships and talented employees. I believe that the business and its people will continue to be well supported by KKR and we welcome the commitments provided to all our stakeholders.”
Commenting on the Acquisition, Tara Davies, Partner and Co-Head of European Infrastructure at KKR, said: “John Laing has a strong market position and a forty-year track record of delivering major infrastructure projects. There is growing global demand for national infrastructure which delivers societal benefit and reflects technological advances and policy priorities across areas such as connectivity, renewable energy and transport.
Under private ownership and with flexible access to capital, John Laing can take a longer-term view as an owner and operator of assets during the next phase of its growth. KKR recognises the high quality of the employees and strength of the management team at John Laing and their importance to the success of John Laing following the Acquisition. KKR is a long-term investor with deep experience in owning critical national infrastructure assets and we are excited by the opportunity to support the talented team at John Laing to provide capital, a global platform and operational expertise to enable John Laing to accelerate its strategy.”