general news

British train operator FirstGroup to assess USD 1.5 Bn takeover

British train operator FirstGroup to assess USD 1.5 Bn takeover

Britain’s biggest train operator FirstGroup is reportedly considering a USD 1.5 billion (£1.2 billion) takeover from an American private equity company.

Apart from the latest approach, which is yet to be assessed, the Aberdeen-based rail and bus operator stated that it received several unsought proposals from I Squared Capital, which were rejected unanimously.

For the unversed, I Squared Capital has offices in Hong Kong, London, Singapore, Miami, and Delhi and focuses on utilities, energy, transport, and telecom in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

In addition to other transport firms, FirstGroup was affected by the drop in rail and bus passenger numbers during the COVID-19 outbreak, when non-essential travel was barred during lockdowns.

FirstGroup hires 17,500 people and operates four of the country’s rail networks under government-awarded franchises: South Western Railway, Great Western Railway, Avanti West Coast, and TransPennine Express.

It also operates Lumo and Hull Trains on the east coast between Edinburgh and London, two open access operations that run commercial trains with no franchises.

FirstGroup is also United Kingdom’s second major bus operator, operating in cities like Bristol, Glasgow, and Leeds.

A year ago, the company was involved in a long tussle with an activist investor Coast Capital which forced Chief Executive Matthew Gregory out of the organization in July.

UK’s biggest coach and bus operator StageCoach backed a USD 750 million (£595 million) offer from a European infrastructure fund managed by DWS Infrastructure of Germany.

FirstGroup shares increased by 15%, reaching levels not attained since 2019, and later traded 8.3% higher.

For the uninitiated, FirstGroup offers convenient and easy mobility, enhancing the quality of life by connecting communities.

First Bus is UK’s second-largest regional bus operator. It serves two-thirds of the 15 largest conurbations in the United Kingdom, including key urban areas, and a fifth of the market beyond London.

Source credit:

About the author

Omkar Patwardhan

Omkar Patwardhan started his professional career in the hospitality industry. Having nurtured a deep-sated passion for words however, he found his way into content writing and now pens down articles for numerous websites, including News Origins, spanning the sectors of business, finance, and technology.