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Carlyle Purchases Stake in London Mini-Cab Operator Addison Lee

Carlyle Group LP, the world’s second-biggest private-equity firm by assets, agreed to buy a “significant” stake in Addison Lee, London’s largest mini-cab operator, from its founders. Carlyle will finance the purchase from its 5.4 billion-euro ($7 billion) leveraged-buyout fund, the Washington-based firm said in a statement that didn’t give further financial terms. The transaction values Addison Lee at about 300 million pounds ($458 million), including debt, according to a person briefed on the matter who asked not to be identified because the terms are private.

The company was started in 1975 by John Griffin, who later partnered with Lenny and Daryl Foster. Today, the firm operates more than 4,500 vehicles and transports more than 10 million passengers a year, according to Carlyle’s statement.

“Addison Lee is a strong business and brand with great potential,” said Andrew Burgess, a managing director at Carlyle in London. “Carlyle’s experience and expertise will allow us to support the plans to continue growing the business both in the U.K. and internationally.”

Carlyle’s investments in the European automotive industry include RAC Ltd., a roadside-recovery company, which it bought from Aviva Plc for $1.6 billion. It also acquired Applus Servicios Tecnologicos SL, a Spanish company that tests vehicle emissions, for 1.48 billion euros, including debt, in 2007.

Officials at Carlyle and Addison Lee declined to comment beyond the statement.

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