Suitors for Amey, one of Britain’s biggest outsourcing groups and a key government contractor, have been given until next week to lodge takeover bids by its Spanish parent.
Sky News has learnt that Ferrovial and its advisers have asked for preliminary offer to be tabled for Amey in the next few days.
It comes six months after it emerged that Ferrovial was relaunching an auction of its British subsidiary, which employs about 15,000 people.
Amey’s Spanish parent company owns a big chunk of Heathrow Airport
An initial “for sale” sign was hoisted over Amey more than two years ago, raising questions over the future ownership of a business, which has held government contracts ranging from transporting prisoners for the Ministry of Justice to maintenance of the UK’s rail and road networks.
Ferrovial, which owns a big chunk of London Heathrow Airport, has contemplated a sale of its entire global services business for some time, with Amey the subject of a standalone auction process.
The initial attempt to divest it was unsuccessful, however, amid uncertainty about the future of a controversial £2.7bn roads contract in Birmingham.
A dispute with the city’s local authority was resolved in 2019, although Amey only finally extricated itself from the deal last year.
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The tidying-up of Amey’s business is likely to provide prospective buyers with a clearer view about the company’s valuation in a sector which has been rocked by several prominent corporate collapses in recent years.
Morgan Stanley is handling the auction.
Ferrovial and Amey both declined to comment.