ST of international private equity firms are vying to acquire British sightseeing bus tour operator Big Bus Tours, it emerged yesterday.
European buyout specialist Permira, the UK-headquartered Exponent Private Equity, America’s Advent International and Omers Private Equity – the investment arm of a Canadian pension fund – are circling the London-based company, which is mooted to be worth around £400m.
The family-owned Big Bus Tours has attracted a range of suitors since it appointed JP Morgan at the end of last year to test waters for outside investment. The Maybury family sold a 30 per cent stake in the company in 2007 to the Al Fahim Group, a family investment fund from the United Arab Emirates. The company merged with French counterpart Les Cars Rouges in 2011 but the Maybury family is thought to still hold a significant shareholding in the firm.
Established in 1991, Big Bus Tours is the largest operator of open-topped sightseeing tours in the world.
Permira, Advent, Exponent and Omers all declined to comment.