LONDON (Reuters) – A consortium led by Qatar’s state-owned investment fund is the frontrunner to buy Britain’s Thames Water for about 7 billion pounds ($13.1 billion), the Observer reported on Sunday.
The fund lodged a bid that is significantly higher than an offer from private equity group Terra Firma but things could still change as final offers are not due until October 9, the paper quoted investment bankers as saying.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph reported, citing one executive close to the talks, British insurer Prudential Plc has held talks with Australia’s Macquarie Bank about teaming up to bid for Thames Water, owned by German utility RWE.
It said Prudential has yet to decide whether to join Macquarie but it is keen to gain exposure to some of the infrastructure assets up for sale in Britain.
Thames Water was not immediately available to comment.
Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in August RWE had received three indicative offers for the business it is trying to sell for around 7 billion pounds.
They said UK financier Guy Hands’ Terra Firma Capital Partners, a group led by investment bank UBS AG and Macquarie had all expressed an initial interest.
The sale process — or a possible flotation of Thames — is expected to culminate around November.