18 March 2010

Now Arriva face take-over

Literally days after Arriva's plans to purchase Keolis hit a brick wall, it is now Arriva who are at the end of a potential take-over, following news that the German state-owned railway company, Deutsche Bahn (DB), has approached the Sunderland-based transport company with a view to launching a takeover bid.

DB's bid is understood to be around £7 per share, that values Arriva's transport empire at around £1.2 billion. DB has significant expertise in operating high-speed railways and when coupled with Arriva's bus business both here and throughout Europe and its pair of Train Operating Companies (CrossCountry and Arriva Trains Wales), a good all-rounder could form, possibly a force to be reckoned with.

However, the timing has shocked many within Germany since the government there plans to controversially privatise its state-run railway company and those on the stock exchange are a little concerned as to how this will all play out. It does mean, though, that Arriva's attempts to advance on France may not yet be over, with DB's chances of moving in being a lot greater than Arriva's alone.

When Arriva declared it had been approached, Singapore-based ComfortDelGro and private-equity firm Kohlberk Kravis Roberts & Co were also in the frame. Arriva's press release states that there is no guarantee that a bid of any kind is forthcoming.

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