Yorkshire Water is set for a change in ownership after two of its owners joined together to sell their majority stake in the utility group's parent company.
Private equity fund Corsair Capital, which owns a 30.3 per cent stake in Yorkshire Water's owner Kelda Group, and Deutsche Bank, which owns a 23.4 per cent stake in the firm, have teamed up to sell their holdings, the Sunday Times reported.
Corsair and Deutsche’s stakes are worth an estimated £4bn. The sale comes ahead of a regulatory review this month that is expected to hit profits across the water sector.
Deutsche is thought to be using its own bankers, while Corsair is understood to have hired investment bank Evercore to sell its stake.
Yorkshire Water is a combined water supply and treatment utility that provides services in areas such as North Yorkshire, part of Derbyshire, West Yorkshire and part of north Lincolnshire.
Corsair declined to comment while Deutsche Bank, Kelda and Yorkshire did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this year Yorkshire Water was ranked among the 10 worst combined water and sewerage companies in the UK by the Consumer Council for Water, despite a 17 per cent decrease in customer complaints.
Last month it emerged Yorkshire Water is among the companies that still sometimes use dowsing rods to try to find water.
Dave Stevenson, head of water distribution at Yorkshire Water, said: "We prefer to explore high-tech solutions to help us tackle leakage such as satellite detection, drones to survey our pipework, and thousands of acoustic listening devices that will help us identify leaks in our underground network and fix them more quickly and effectively.
"Divining sticks are rarely used these days with so much better, 21st century technology out there."