KKR to Buy Infrastructure Group John Laing for $2.8 Billion

KKR & Co. agreed to buy John Laing Group Plc for about 2 billion pounds ($2.8 billion), partnering with another investor to secure a global infrastructure portfolio with potential for further growth.

The U.S. private-equity giant said Wednesday it will pay 403 pence a share for John Laing, sending the stock to its highest level since before the coronavirus pandemic. The offer represents a 27% premium over the London-based target’s share price before the talks were disclosed on May 6.

John Laing invests in and manages transportation, social and environmental infrastructure projects, according to its website. KKR said the company offers an attractive pipeline of future projects and represents a platform for building out its own infrastructure strategy.

John Laing management will stay in place and benefit from the buyout firm’s access to capital, while infrastructure investor Equitix will pitch in to buy a 50% stake in the existing asset portfolio once the acquisition is completed.

Shares of John Laing, which started as a building company based in northwest England, jumped 11% to 401 pence as of 8:15 a.m. in London. The intraday price is the highest since December 2019, just before the global health crisis started.

The 173-year-old group sold off its construction division in 2001 and has since focused solely on infrastructure assets for government entities.

The company has been awarded business under public-private partnership programs in the U.K., Europe, Asia, Latin America and North America.

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