The government could announce the sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to Macquarie as early as next week, sources have told City A.M.
The Macquarie bid, which also involves the Universities Superannuation Scheme, has been plagued by delays, political opposition and a legal challenge by rival bidder Sustainable Development Capital (SDCL).
But, after SDCL’s judicial review failed last week, Macquarie and the government are believed to be in a position to announce their deal.
Read more: Green Investment Bank in judicial review
In his judgement on the judicial review, Mr Justice Lewis noted the parties “have now reached agreement in principle on the terms of the sale and are now in a position to sign a binding, contractual agreement”.
City A.M. understands the deal is likely to include a commitment for the GIB’s headquarters to remain in Edinburgh. The government is also likely to retain a stake in a small number of GIB assets for a set period. And GIB is also set to remain a discrete entity rather than being absorbed into the wider Macquarie group.
Sources said that while the deal is ready to be unveiled, the parties are likely to wait until parliament returns next week. They said the announcement, which is likely to include a statement from Macquarie setting out its vision for GIB, could come as early as the second half of next week.
Macquarie beat SDCL to become the government’s preferred bidder last September. The deal was due to be sealed in 2016 but was delayed.
Political opposition to the deal – from the likes of former business secretary Vince Cable, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and Environmental Audit Committee chair Mary Creagh – flared after reports suggested Macquarie was preparing to asset-strip.
Macquarie, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and GIB declined to comment on this story.
BEIS has previously said:
Any government decisions on the sale of the Green Investment Bank will be driven by what best achieves our objectives, including continued investment in the green economy and a sale which is in the best interests of the taxpayer.
This is a commercially sensitive process and it is inappropriate for us to comment further while that process is ongoing.