Morgan Stanley Infra Arm Weighs Deal for Waste Firm Augean

Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners is considering an acquisition of U.K. waste management services firm Augean Plc, people familiar with the matter said, in what would be the latest in a spate of British take-private deals.

The investment firm has been studying a potential takeover of Augean, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing non-public information. Augean has a market value of 261 million pounds ($368 million).

Formed in 2004, Augean offers waste-management services to companies in sectors ranging from oil and gas to nuclear and radioactives, according to its website. Its shares have risen 38% on London’s junior Alternative Investment Market in the last 12 months.

Deliberations are ongoing and there’s no certainty Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, an investment arm of the U.S. bank, will proceed with a bid, the people said. A representative for Morgan Stanley declined to comment. A spokesperson for Augean didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Private equity firms are snapping up U.K. companies at a rate not seen since before the 2008 financial crisis. They’ve spent $18.3 billion on takeovers of publicly-traded British targets this year, according to data complied by Bloomberg. At this rate, they may surpass the $27.5 billion of such transactions struck in 2019, which was a post-crisis high.

This month alone, KKR & Co. agreed to buy infrastructure firm John Laing Group Plc for about 2 billion pounds and Blackstone Group Inc. confirmed a 1.2 billion-pound offer for St. Modwen Properties Plc. Clayton, Dubilier & Rice also struck a deal for UDG Healthcare Plc at 2.6 billion pounds.

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