Henderson infrastructure funds swoop on Laing

Henderson Equity Partners’s has agreed a £886.9m takeover of John Laing, a UK developer, while simultaneously holding a €830m close on its latest PFI secondary fund.

Henderson Infrastructure, a holding company for the private equity infrastructure team of UK fund manager Henderson, and John Laing, a UK developer, have agreed for Henderson to acquire Laing, valuing the business at approximately £886.9 million.

A source close to Henderson said the scheme of arrangement, a legal structure used to expedite public-to-private transactions, should go before the court by mid-November.

The deal will be financed from Henderson Equity Partners’ public finance initiative secondary funds.

It held a first close on its PFI Secondary Fund II yesterday on €830 million ($1.05 billion). If the Laing deal is completes, the new fund will be 75 percent invested in one fell swoop.

The source said Henderson will still have “a couple of €100 million to play with.” He said the speed with which Henderson was able to return to investors for the second fund was a resounding vote of confidence in the infrastructure team’s strategy.

Henderson closed the first £330 million secondary PFI fund less than a year ago, which be fully invested with the Laing deal’s completion.

The source said the Laing deal included its existing portfolio of PFI deals and its order book of future assets. He said it meant Henderson would not have to go to individual constructors and buy the assets off the balance sheet, instead it would have access to the deals through Laing’s role as a developer.

Law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised Henderson Equity Partners on this transaction. The team was led by corporate partner Laurie McFadden.