KKR snaps up UK infrastructure investor John Laing in £2bn deal

The private-equity firm KKR has agreed to buy the UK infrastructure investor John Laing, which has stakes in Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool and a retirement homebuilding project with McCarthy & Roca, in a deal valued at about £2bn.

The takeover values the London-listed firm at 403p per share, which represents a 27% premium on the closing price of John Laing stock on 5 Mayo, the day before it confirmed it was in talks with KKR.

John Laing has invested in more than 150 projects and businesses since it was founded, across a range of sectors including transport and energy.

The firm, which was floated in February 2015, owns assets including schools, hospitals and infrastructure predominantly in the US and Australia as well as in Europe.

The investor was involved in the 2013 redevelopment of Alder Hey, which was funded through a private finance initiative, and as a result still holds a 40% stake in the hospital.

John Laing said its board intended to unanimously recommend KKR’s offer to its shareholders to take the firm private, adding that it represented a fair and reasonable value for the company.

KKR has also proposed a £175m cash injection into John Laing’s pension fund, accompanied by a further £50m in 18 meses.

John Laing’s shares rose by 11% in morning trading on Wednesday, to 402p, just below the offer price.

John Laing’s chair, Will Samuel, dicho: “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.”

Tara Davies, a partner and co-head of European infrastructure at KKR, dicho: “There is growing global demand for national infrastructure that delivers societal benefit and reflects technological advances and policy priorities across areas such as connectivity, renewable energy and transport.”

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