Canadians’ £1.7bn play for water firm

ONE of Northumbrian Water’s largest shareholders is thought to be preparing a £1.7bn bid to take the FTSE 250 company private.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), which has also been linked to a buyout of private equity-owned Acorn Education and Care, holds 27 per cent of Northumbrian Water. It is understood to have begun negotiations with banks for a debt package to fund the deal.

Northumbrian Water and OTPP did not comment yesterday. It is thought no approach has been made by the Canadian fund, which would have to pay a premium to the utility’s £1.4bn market cap to woo its other shareholders.

Shares in Northumbrian Water closed 1.5 per cent down on Friday at 258.6p.