Brookfield Starts Sale of $2.8 Billion U.K. Ports Group

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Brookfield Asset Management Inc. has kicked off the sale of PD Ports, a deal that could value one of the U.K.’s oldest port operators at more than 2 billion pounds ($2.8 billion), according to people familiar with the matter.

The Canadian investment firm is working with advisers and has reached out to potential bidders, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. Brookfield expects to close a sale of PD Ports before the end of the year and the business could draw financial and strategic investors, the people said.

Deliberations are in the early stages, and no final agreements on the timing of any deal have been reached, the people said. A representative for Brookfield declined to comment.

The planned sale comes with infrastructure investors, flush with capital, on the lookout for targets that provide long-term, stable and predicable returns. Infrastructure transactions, involving everything from oil pipelines to telecommunication fiber and towers, were a bright spot for dealmaking during the pandemic last year and the pace of activity has continued into 2021.

KKR & Co. agreed to buy U.K.-listed infrastructure company John Laing Group Plc for about 2 billion pounds in May, while Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, one of Canada’s largest public-sector pension managers, is aiming to double infrastructure investments within the next five years.

Headquartered in Middlesbrough in the north east of England, PD Ports employs more than 1,300 people and operates sites mostly along the U.K.’s east coast, according to its website. As a landlord, it can lease land adjacent to a port under long-term agreements and also owns the perpetual right to look after a river system and charge customers for transiting through it.

For Brookfield, a sale of the business will continue a recent run of dealmaking in Europe. A unit of the investment group agreed to acquire Modulaire Group, the European designer of modular work spaces backed by TDR Capital, for about $5 billion last month. Brookfield is also is weighing a sale of U.K.-based biofuel provider Greenergy, Bloomberg News reported in May.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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