Former chancellor Philip Hammond’s private equity firm is scheming to buy one of the government’s largest private sector contractors for £300m.
According to Sky News, Buckthorn, the private equity firm who employs Hammond as a partner, has moved to acquire Amey.
Buckthorn has submitted a bid for Amey as part of an auction being organised by its Spanish owner, Ferrovial.
Amey is one the UK’s largest outsourcers, with around 15,000 staff. It deals extensively with the government, carrying out work in British prisons and on HS2.
The news comes as Hammond was slapped down by an influential Whitehall committee for using government contacts to help British fintech Oaknorth. Hammond argued he contacted Treasury officials to make them aware the bank was offering free support to the government’s response to the Covid crisis.
Hammond advises Oaknorth. The Advisory on Businesses Appointments (ACOBA) said his decision to contact Charles Roxburgh, the second permanent secretary at the Treasury, was “unwise”.
ACOBA banned Hammond from advising any organisations working on a bid for companies eyeing up a business that is involved in UK government work.
In addition to boasting Hammond on its books, Buckthorn also employs Lord Colin Moynihan, a former sports minister under Margaret Thatcher.
The Amey auction is being run by Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley.