UK construction, property and services group Kier has held preliminary talks about a potential acquisition of the infrastructure consultant firm Mouchel.
Kier has reported in a statement:
In view of recent press speculation, Kier Group confirms that it has held preliminary discussions regarding a potential acquisition of Mouchel. There can be no certainty that an acquisition of Mouchel will be completed.
Kier is divided in four operating divisions: property, house - building, construction and services.
Mouchel Group is an infrastructure and business services company headquartered in Woking, United Kingdom. It operates in sectors including highways, business process outsourcing, water, property, housing, education, waste, environmental and local government consultancy services in the UK and internationally.
Mouchel is owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Barclays. The company has been in the hands of its banks since 2012 after a £4.3 million (US$6.74 billion) black hole was discovered in its accounts.
Mouchel has hired investment bank Rothschild to explore a potential flotation of the business next year or in 2016.
According to sources, Mouchel's owners are seeking about £400 million (US$627 million) for the company. It is twice the price that Costain and Interserve offered to acquire the firm in 2011. Mouchel rejected, in March 2011, the takeover proposals and ended all talks with suitors as it posted a 73% plunge in half-year profits.